Over the weekend, Rahm Emmanuel came to North Carolina. He headlined a fundraising breakfast for Heath Shuler, a fundraiser for Larry Kissell and he was the keynote speaker at the North Carolina Democratic Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.
I had the pleasure of being at both the Kissell fundaiser and the Jefferson-Jackson dinner, although I had to leave the Kissell fundraiser early, and missed the speeches. I would have stayed the whole time, but I was only able to afford attending both because I was allowed to work for my attendance.
Never let it be said Im not willing to move tables and guard a door. Sadly, I have no pictures of the evening, but I am hoping that the NCDP's official blogger will put up some of the pictures he was taking.
This diary will be as much of a rundown as I can remember. But, it was a very busy day, and I met a lot of people.
First, the Kissell Fundraiser.
Before Larry's event I had a long conversation with the father of one of Larry's volunteers. He is from Fayetteville, and his son-in-law (the husband of Larry's volunteer) is currently in Iraq. The guy had some serious passion, and to say that he is upset with Iraq would be an understatement.
Larry had a good amount of people show up. I talked to some Raleigh Police Officers who were there on behalf of the Teamster's Union. I also met some other people who believe in Larry, and let me reiterate that there is a lot of energy for Larry in 2008. Instead of being disheartened by the close call in 2006, his campaign is reinvigorated, and ready to work even harder for the next 18 months. Will you think about helping him retire some of his debt?
Then I was on my way to JJ
I knew I was on the right road when I saw my first sign for the Lt. Gov race. Both Walter Dalton and Hampton Dellinger had signs out. Walter's campaign also had a table set up with information and signs. However, I only saw both of them because I was guarding the door, and taking tickets. Dan Besse was there early, and is a very nice guy, we had a short conversation.
However, the highlight of these candidates was finally meeting Pat Smathers. Pat is the mayor of Canton, and is a great guy. He was there with his wife and his son, Zeb. Pat is running an interesting race, and if elected his biggest goal is going to be to empower local governments. As a mayor, and a member of the reserves, he knows how disasters get handled, and he knows who help people in their daily lives. Your congressman doesnt talk to you everyday. Your state house rep doesnt. But, the people that your mayor and city council appoint impact your life throughout the day. Why should we not be giving them every tool possible?
Oh, by the way, Pat was there passing out invitations to his event in Canton in August. In late August the Beach Boys are coming to town for a concert. More info on that later.
The list of important people was long, including a large number of council of state members, state house and senate members, judges and on and on.
Rahm's speech was great. I know that there a lot of people on the blogs who were upset with Rahm because he didnt give Larry money in time to win, but let me just say that Rahm is not so proud that he isnt willing to fix his mistakes. It was obvious from his speech that Rahm believes we will see more gains in 2008, and he knows that Larry is going to be one of those candidates. The highlight of Rahm's speech was the assertion that (paraphrase)
The US Attorney Scandal will do to the issue of corruption what Katrina did to the issue of Government Competence
Rahm's speech was not a fire breathing, raging stump speech. It was a very serious review of everything that caused the blue wave in 06, and a call to be ready for another big wave in 08. Between him and David Price's speech early on (that I missed most of) it was obvious that the Democrats in Congress are proud of what they are doing, and are dedicated to doing everything they can to fix Bush's mistakes.
While there I also got a chance to talk to Grier Martin, who is a member of the state house, and if Brad Miller runs for Senate, a very likely candidate for Brad's US House Seat. Grier is a great guy, It would be impossible to say how thrilled I would be to see Brad in the Senate and Grier in the house. Our conversation in no small part focused on Blogs. Grier introduced me to his fellow blogger, Wayne Goodwin, who ran for Council of State last year, and who is married to State Legislator Melanie Wade Goodwin. Wayne is an absolute believer in the power of blogs, and gave a big thank you to BlueNC for their action on helping to gather opposition to a very bad bill on insurance rates.
Following Rahm's speech, recently elected Ty Harrell got up to introduce the other elected officials in the room. Ty is a very funny, very personable guy. He has a bright political future in front of him, and it was obvious why he was given the podium.
The last speaker was party chair Jerry Meek. Jerry's speech was short. The future of the North Carolina Democratic Party is bright, and we have some great leadership in place ready to sweep in '08.
My final conversation of the evening was the most important for me. I had a great conversation with Brad Miller. Brad and I spent a good 5 to 10 minutes at Larry's fundraiser talking about the netroots and what role blogs would play in his campaign if he ran for Senate. Brad is a believer in what the blogs can do, and I dare say that if he ran he would most likely take everything good that Lamont and Dean did, add in everything he knows about how to run a race, and how to blog, and bring it to North Carolina. It would be very, very exciting.
After the speeches at JJ I talked to Brad, his wife Esther Hall, the head of his District office, and a supporter. The short and sweet of it is that Brad has not made a decision. There are a lot of worries that he has, but there are also a lot of reasons for him to decide to run. One of the worries that others have expressed is, would he be able to raise enough money? That is a big question, one that I would answer yes to, but it is easy for me, because I dont have to make fundraising phone calls for 4 hours a day for a year. Brad has most decidedly not made up his mind on whether to run, but he is asking for opinions from everyone, and having very serious detailed discussions with everyone he can. The biggest worry that people seem to have is, "what if he loses?" There is not a single person that I have met that is willing to lose Brad from Congress. Some, like me, want to see him get a promotion. Others, are afraid he would lose, and are afraid of losing him in the house if that happens.
I hope that you will consider sending him 5 bucks to let him know that yes, he should run.