Alamance County Democratic Convention

I had the honor of representing Jim Neal at the Alamance County Democratic Convention today, and luckily, he showed up just in the nick of time so I could avoid the public speaking aspect of my surrogate duties (whew).

I'm sure I would have done just fine, but since I actually live in Alamance County, it's not like I could just fade away and never come back if I tumbled over a chair ala "America's Funniest Home Videos" or accidentally dropped an F-bomb while speaking. While they may not be as horrific as the nightmare where you show up at school naked, these things were playing in the back of my mind, nevertheless.

Here's our glorious and recently face-lifted courthouse where the Convention took place:

This is the only picture I took today, as I didn't want to tote my camera all over the place while shaking hands and chatting. Which is really kind of weird, since I used to walk (and run sometimes) countless miles with a 75-100 lb rucksack when I was in the Army, but now a pound of digital camera is too much. Go figure.

It was a surprisingly good turnout of candidates here, and I got to meet several and had some good conversations with a few of them. I spoke with Brad Miller before the event and watched him speak a little while later. He is truly a great Representative, and the near-certainty of his reelection is a blessing for all of us. But he needs help in Congress, which leads me to the next person I talked to today, a fellow blogger here at BlueNC.

Jay Ovittore has a hell of a challenge in front of him. And he has encountered some difficulties and resistance that he probably didn't count on when he first decided to challenge Howard Coble's well-worn seat. That some of that resistance came from yours truly right here at BlueNC is not something I'm very proud of, and the fact that he was genuinely glad to meet me today is proof that I was more wrong than right in my assessment of him recently. He's an intelligent and energetic young man, and I think he'd make a damned fine Congressman.

I finally got to see (and hear) Dan Besse speak in front of an audience today, and I was both pleased and surprised. He is undoubtedly a very likable man, and his opinions about sustainable growth and the environment so closely parallel my own that it's only natural that I would support him. But until I saw him speak today, I wasn't so sure of his ability to sell his ideas to large groups of the public. I'm sure I could have seen this from the videos posted here if I was smart enough to switch to broadband instead of my two-cans-and-a-wire dial-up connection, but I'm a stubborn cheapskate. ;) Anyway, Dan spoke very well, and there were a lot of heads nodding throughout.

I mentioned earlier about Jim arriving in time to speak, which he did very well. When he finished, he and the gang had to hit the road so they (like many others) could try to drive all the way to Charlotte by 4:00 p.m.

So after I got home this afternoon, I called them enroute just to pass a message along about how I thought Jim's speech went. When one of his guys answered the phone, I said, "Please tell Jim..." and then his assistant said, "Here he is, you tell him." :)

Anyway, to make a long story less long, Jim and I spoke for quite a while. Like 35-40 minutes or so. We talked about all kinds of stuff, ranging from political strategies to things that need fixing in the way our government operates. We laughed about some things and we grumbled about some things, and when my cell phone started whining for more power I almost drop-kicked it off my deck and into the woods behind my house. ;/

Now, I know the only thing more boring about a phone conversation is hearing (or reading) about someone else's phone conversation, but I believe this may be important for some people to know. To the average voter, candidates are basically enigmas. We've heard so many promises over the years that words from candidates often take a backseat to less important aspects, like the relative attractiveness of an individual, body language, pleasing colors in yard signs, etc. It's as if they're a product that needs marketing, and well-calculated superficialities pay off at the register.

Well, Jim is not a product, he's a real live person. And one that has all the right ideas about what our government needs to do, and the capacity and desire to learn even more. We don't have to worry about him casually voting for legislation that does more harm than good, because that's one of the main reasons he decided to run in the first place. Business as usual ain't cutting it, and neither is sending well-marketed products to Washington. We need someone who will think, listen and act, and that person is Jim Neal.


Beautifully written

I hope to have Union's report up soon.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Ooooohhh....and fp'd

'cause it is worth it to make sure folks get a laugh outta you being worried you would drop an f bomb at the convention.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Buncombe County Dem Convention

I can't remember the name of the woman who spoke for Jim Neal at the convention. She did a decent job. She definitely got topped on the bill by Kay Hagan's husband, Chip, though.

Fun times at the Convention. Shuler rolled in for a quick speech focusing on energy independence and rebuilding our nation. Superdelegate Carol Peterson talked about her phone conversations with Clinton and Obama without committing to either of them. Lots of good speeches and a packed room of about 250 people.

Scrutiny Hooligans -


pretty uneventful. The head of our BOE just about killed herself falling down some stairs and knocking herself out cold. Good thing we have a physician running for county commish.

I did have a little bit of fun. I was stage manager for the day. During the candidate introductions there were a couple of judge candidates who are registered Republican who wanted to be introduced. Their argument was that the races are non partisan and since it was a public meeting they should be allowed to speak. I said that yes it was a public meeting and they were more than welcome to sit in on it but just because it was a public meeting, that did not guarantee them the right to speak. We knew there was a chance that they might try this and had already checked with lawyers so I knew I was in the clear. So I asked them to leave the line of candidates. Just hope I never come up in front of them.

Got a chance to talk with Frank Eaton for a little while.

Three of the four resolutions introduced, failed. The one that did pass dealt with government employees having the right to organize.

As for candidates: all of our local ones of course, Harry Taylor and Ross Overby who are in a primary for the 9th Cong. District and Kay Hagen showed up. I did get to see Dan Besse and Jim Neal later in the day at a forum sponsored by the Muslim American Society.

Our speakers were great. Congresswoman Shiela Jackson Lee and Congressman Danny Davis spoke. They both pushed their choosen presidential candidate but also stressed that after the convention we need to pull together, no matter who the nominee is, and beat McCain.
"jump in where you can and hang on"
Briscoe Darling to Sheriff Andy

Mecklenburg County Democratic Convention

The convention was surprisingly fairly organized. Which said a lot because when I last attended three years ago; I was turned off by the MCDP's extreme disorganization of a county convention.

Moving onwards...I am glad the lady from the BOE was doing well after falling down. It was a very frightening moment to watch. I thought that the candidates who are vying for their respective positions went on way long to explain themselves. The mini award ceremonies for various honorees were equally excessive as they were a primary waste of time.

Shelia Jackson Lee (a Clinton endorser) was a terrible speaker who lost her audience within the first 30 seconds and should have been reimbursed by the Clinton campaign for wasting her time with a openly
vocal pro-Obama crowd. Furthermore, she acted like a "show-off" as she further engaged herself in an overdrawn spectacle who left me completely unimpressed. Danny Davis (an Obama endorser),in contrast, was much more focused with his speech while remaining on point throughout.He was the highlight of my day.

I left after the resolutions were announced but not before I was entertained by the volunteer choir who performed "America The Beautiful" which was a great version to hear.

respectfully disagree

We must have been at two different conventions. I thought Congresswoman Lee did a great job speaking (and I am an Obama supporter)and I am guessing that you don't know Bill Brawley (Democrat of the Year, posthumously) or Bob Davis (Rosa Park Award). Bill was one of the stalwarts of our county party as well as his wife, Midge. Though I have had my disagreements with Bob Davis over the years, his dedication to the party is amazing.

"jump in where you can and hang on"
Briscoe Darling to Sheriff Andy

I spoke after Chip at the Catawba convention today

I stood in for Dan there and in Cabarrus and Mecklenburg this morning. Chip is a good egg.

I also got some time with Jim this week in Winston-Salem on Thursday. I escorted him to my alma mater, the newly renamed UNC School of the Arts where he spoke to a High School Senior Civics class taught by a friend of mine.

Half of the kids in this class probably weren't even old enough to vote yet, but Jim talked to them for an hour with a candor and clarity that you don't often see in a politician. Let me edit that statement right now:

With a candor and emotional clarity that I've NEVER seen in a politician.

By the end of his talk I was fighting back tears of pride. This man's generosity is vast. It's not too late to fight like hell for a Jim Neal victory in this primary. PLEASE DO NOT MISS THE CHANCE TO DO SO.

Scharrison: thank you also for your review of Dan Besse's speech. You've got it!

As I said in my pitch last week (here, for when you've upgraded to high speed) Dan is positioned to pull off an upset against his better funded opponents. His statewide support is strong, solid, and founded on several decades of hard work in numerous fields.

Two examples:

I talked to Sam Ervin IV in Newton today who told me about working with Dan on a Utilities Commission case years ago. The case involved Duke power's rate increases that year (some time in the early 1980's). Dan was representing a couple of consumer and conservation groups and Sam was representing the Carolina Utilities Customers Association, a group made up of large manufacturing and business energy users. Combining forces, with Dan as citizen consumer advocate and Sam as business consumer advocate, they successfully fought the rate increase.

Earlier in the day, I met a young woman in Charlotte who worked with Dan on the Bosnian Peace Project in the early nineties (Dan traveled to Sarajevo during the fighting there for this).

Those are just two people I met TODAY. Two people who came up to me to share stories about Dan's dedication and tirelessness; the vastness of his interests and expertise, and their sustained admiration for his skill and intellect.

Oh! One more! (holy smoke, I can't believe I forgot about this one!)

In the parking lot at the Mecklenburg convention, a guy came up to me and told me that he used to work with Dan and his wife Kay in New Bern as a poverty advocate with Pamlico Legal Services. And guess who it was?!!!

MARCUS WILLIAMS! Candidate for US Senate!

Small world.

And Gray, it's always nice to run into you, you True Meck Dem, you.

Looking forward to meeting you, Frank

That thing about Dan going to Sarajevo is very interesting. And in case anyone's wondering, Karadzic and Mladic are still at large, and the clock is ticking towards the 2010 dissolution of the Tribunal. :(

a travesty

Those two architects of genocide (Karadzic & Mladic) should have been delivered to justice long ago.

Dan Besse
Democrat for Lieutenant Governor

Dan Besse

I agree.

I wrote a diary about this last Summer.

As long as these guys remain free and unmolested, it sends a signal to military strongmen around the world: sometimes mass murder is okay.

Thanks Scharrison!

I appreciate the kind words above. It is always a fun time when you put a face to blogger you have been reading or engaging. Now that I know you are so close, let me know when you can get together to chat more and grab a drink.

Jay Ovittore
Candidate- 6th Congressional District

“The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.” Thomas Jefferson

Jay Ovittore

“The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.” Thomas Jefferson

You got it, buddy.

I'll shoot you a PM the next time I head towards Greensboro.

Cumberland's report...

It was a good convention, but nothing really stood out. I spoke on behalf of Dan Besse and Wayne Goodwin, both great Democrats who have sat in those delegate seats long before they ever stood behind podiums as candidates.

Sen. Dalton and his wife did show up briefly, as did Lt. Gov. Perdue's husband, who spoke for longer. The tables that were on display that I remember were Dan Besse (wonder why I remember that one?!), Hagan, Obama, Clinton, and those are all that I can think of (besides local folks/issues). But I'm probably leaving something out.

Sen. Cowell had a surrogate present to speak on behalf of her campaign for state Treasurer. Other campaigns represented by surrogates were Aiken and Woods for State Auditor, Davis for Superintendent, Hagan for U.S. Senate, Anderson for Labor Commissioner...and those are all that I can remember. My mind, after I finished my two "speeches", was on an event happening later in the afternoon with the presidential campaign.

Congressman Bob Etheridge showed up later and mixed with the crowd. Other than that, the convention was what it was. Don't mean to make it sound lackluster...but for 2008, could have used a little more "bang."

Moore County Convention

Our convention started with Joe Hackney as speaker. He received a standing ovation when he walked to the podium and many times throughout his speech. He really is quite a speaker and we were very lucky that he could make it to our convention. Grace,(Linda's better half ;P) took lots and lots of pictures which they'll hopefully upload later on today.

Zeb Smathers showed up for his dad and everyone was impressed. I think that if Zeb ever ran for an office he would have no problem getting elected, he is a very charismatic man! Our local candidate, Betty Mangum who is running for Boylan's seat was there and spoke along with Teresa Sue Bratton. Tony Berk who is running for the District Attorney against Maureen Kreuger was one of the last candidates to speak. All got only 3 minutes which was strictly enforced by our County Chair. He warned them all that at 2 minutes and 45 seconds he would hold up a yellow sheet of paper telling them they only had 15 seconds left, then at 3 minutes he held up a red sheet and started walking toward the podium. If they didn't stop speaking, he...well I'm not sure what he would have done...they all stopped before he had to do anything anyway. Almost all of the rest of the candidates either sent a letter or some of their local supporters spoke for them.

Linda and I were very disappointed that Dan Besse didn't send a letter or have anyone speak for him, either one of us would have been glad to represent him if we only knew. Jim Neal sent a letter but we didn't have any of the campaign paraphernalia to put out on the long table with all the other candidate's stuff.

Jay Ovitture's better half showed up and gave a rousing speech. She really worked the crowd and left a positive impression on many for his campaign. Jay wasn't able to make it until after the convention was over and most of the crowd had gone because he had visited 5 other conventions earlier. I understand that Brad Miller spoke for him at one convention!

It was a great convention for Moore County, we counted over 100 in attendance not including all the speakers and their entourage. Oh, I gave a speech on the Democratic Veterans Caucus of North Carolina and signed up four new members! Hooaah!

edited to correct the name of the MC district attorney! Linda

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions


I'm sorry, momoaizo, I thought that Linda had been contacted with a plea to represesnt me. That must have been a ball we dropped during the scurry of early voting events and sign distributions. I hope that my visit in March will help Moore forgive me. Anytime you or she is at an event where I haven't been able to attend, please feel AUTHORIZED and REQUESTED to speak for me. Thank you!


Dan Besse
Democrat for Lieutenant Governor

Dan Besse

How about we get you down here to speak some time

between now and May 6? Think it can be done?

I would have spoken for you had I been prepared - I wasn't; I had been up since 5 working on a child care conference we (my agency) was running the same day. Sorry if I missed a signal.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

will check

Things are crunched together pretty severely. Let me check and see. Thanks for the invite.

And the missed signal was on my end--I thought you'd been asked, but I was wrong. Again, apologies.

Dan Besse
Democrat for Lieutenant Governor

Dan Besse

My better half

Is the super energetic, wonderfully intelligent and stunningly beautiful Casey Mann!

Jay Ovittore
Candidate- 6th Congressional District

“The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.” Thomas Jefferson

Jay Ovittore

“The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.” Thomas Jefferson

Casey and Jay

are a terrific couple. I've got no idea where they get the energy. Jay visited all 6 of his counties yesterday, and still had time to explain the RFID chip theories to me. I didn't even have to wear a tin-foil hat. (I would have looked silly anyhow.)

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

you are a lucky man

Casey's one of my favorite people. Give her my best.

"Hampton Dellinger WILL make a great Lieutenant Governor." - Al Gore.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I am

a lucky man DrFrank. She is the reason I smile so much. She is the glue that holds me together. PM me, she wants to know who DrFrank is. I'll keep it quiet...promise!

Jay Ovittore
Candidate- 6th Congressional District

“The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.” Thomas Jefferson

Jay Ovittore

“The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.” Thomas Jefferson


Thanks for catching that Linda.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

More thoughts on the Moore County Convention

The truly gratifying thing about the Moore County Convention, for me, as an officer, is that only half of the elected delegates showed up. What? Why was that gratifying? That's nothing new for Moore County.

Ha! Because despite only half of the elected delegates showing up, the room was filled to capacity. We had to bring in more and more chairs as folks kept coming in. The air was electric! The loudest and longest ovation went to Lance, the surrogate for Barack Obama. The next loudest ovation was for Gerald Galloway, a former candidate and retired police chief who is spearheading the Richard Moore Campaign in Moore county. To be honest, I'm not sure if the ovation was for Gerald or for Moore. After that, the loudest ovation was for Betty Mangum, who as Momoaizo mentioned, will be running against the winner of the 3 way Republican primary for NC 52, currently held by Joe Boylan.

Betty is a former Wake Co. Commissioner, who moved to Moore County about 4 years ago. She is the only Democrat who has stepped forward locally to run for anything, so she will have the full force of this new energy behind her. Imagine riding the coattails of this wave!

Now - speaking of this wave. I've lived here since 1997. It has never been like this. I'm crediting the Presidential race for it. The surrogates for both Obama and Clinton, Richard Moore, and of course our own party Chair, Brian Deaton, reminded us that after May 6, we're all in this together. And that's what it felt like - honestly. I left the Convention exhausted but literally buzzing with adrenaline. And starving!

A delightful dinner with Jay Ovitorre and his lady, Momoaizo, and my better half ended a wonderful day. I'm sore and achy today - and the palms of my hands are red from clapping.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors