We don’t usually call him Sen. Dan Blue Jr., but we may need to start now that his son, Dan Blue III is beginning to make a mark in Wake County. Dan Blue III is a lawyer in his dad’s firm, an officer in the Wake County Democratic Party and a new member of the Downtown Housing Improvement Corporation’s board, among other things. He’s also a front-runner to succeed Mack Paul as chair of the Wake Democrats when Paul steps down at the end of the year.

An email circulated yesterday by an unhappy Democrat objected to Paul’s “endorsement” of Dan III to succeed him. I checked with Paul. He said he did write party activists to say that he, Paul “didn’t want to leave without knowing that someone who can do the job” was willing to take it from him. Dan Blue III, Paul said, is well-qualified, is ready to put in the time and wants the job. Other well-qualified candidates may emerge as well, Paul said. “It’s an open process.”

Paul added that former Wake Commissioner Lindy Brown, who is first vice chair, did not want to step into the chair’s role because she’s considering running for elective office herself in 2012. (For a seat in the state House of Representatives. Update: To clarify, Brown is looking at District 38. Remember, the Republican map puts incumbent Democrats Grier Martin and Deborah Ross in the same district — District 34 — leaving 38 without an incumbent. District 38 is 4-to-1 Democrat and 53 percent African-American voters.)

Paul’s successor will be chosen at a meeting of the party’s executive committee (precinct leaders and elected officials) on Jan. 19. Wake Dems are also recruiting for a new executive director to replace the departing Tammy Brunner, who’s moving to a position with the state party organization/Obama campaign.

Details of the meeting and applying for Brunner’s job are on the Wake Dems website.