NCDP Convention News

Yesterday, I attended the North Carolina Democratic Party's convention in High Point. I didn't know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised at how organized the event was. High Point was a great location for the convention since it was central enough to most of the state. It also provides great hotel and meeting facilities in a small city setting.

Please join me below the fold...

There were women in great hats and plenty of folks dressed in patriotic clothing. The theater was loud with delegates meeting up with fellow Democrats and friends from across the state. I'm not fond of large gatherings. I usually hang out on the fringes and observe. Not today. There was something different about being in a gathering of people I immediately felt some kinship with - if for no other reason than we are Democrats.

Standing at a table reading bumper stickers and buttons I immediately fell in with the other women laughing at the funny sayings. We didn't know each other, but we quickly were showing each other the funniest of the buttons and laughing at our nation's leaders over the witty sayings and funny images. My favorite: The Three Stooges pin that showed the hair of Larry, Moe and Curly on Cheny, Bush and Rumsfeld.

The bumper sticker I saw held up for friends to see and that was purchased most often was a large black oval that framed a yellow dog. I purchased one. I have voted for Republicans in local elections when I honestly felt they were the better candidate, but have never and will never vote for a Republican in a national election. Ever. Could this Southern Democrat actually be a Yellow Dog Democrat afterall?

A young man set up a booth and was displaying Warner for President bumper stickers and buttons. He made sure to say he wasn't affiliated with Warner, so these weren't official items. I didn't care. I have a bumper sticker and button to add to my collection.

I also picked up a Brad Miller bumper sticker. I didn't see Brad, but I did meet Denise Turner, with the Miller campaign. He has obviously surrounded himself with smart, energetic people.

Another group represented was NOOLF or shortened OLF which stands for the Outlying Landing Field. This group wants to protect the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge from a landing strip that would bring noise and fumes to a peaceful wildlife refuge and disturb the winter resting grounds of over 100,000 large migratory birds. This group will get more attention at a later date in one of our action plans, but please visit their web site to learn more about this issue.

Several other candidates were represented and none was more prominant than the black and gold signs of Larry Kissell. Larry had more staff and supporters at the convention than it seems any other candidate. Larry was juggling the convention and a blogger meet and greet being held online. Howie Klein from Down With Tyranny hosted an event at FireDogLake where regular commenters from across the country donated close to $1200 in a couple of hours. Howie has worked with Christy Hardin Smith and Jane Hamsher, of FDL, to highlight Democrats in races that might not be in the national spotlight, but deserve more attention. It was exciting for me to see one of my favorite blogs showing respect to my favorite candidate.

Mel Watt also had staff and supporters attending and he arrived later after attending events in Charlotte. Mel is my representative. He gave a lively speech in April for the Mecklenburg County convention. He has worked hard on the Voting Rights Act that the Republicans in Washington seem intent on destroying, so I know this has been a rough week for him. I'm sure it was good for him to spend some time among supporters and fellow NC Democrats.

Before I get into the details of the convention, let me mention one more person I met who is running for Attorney General in 2008 and he is Hampton Dellinger. He's a lawyer and has served as the chief legal counsel for the Governor of this state and has held top posts in the Department of Justice. He's also a genuinely nice guy. I encourage you to visit his site to learn more about his candidacy. Oh, did I mention that he's a BlueNC reader?

The NCDP Chair, Jerry Meek, started the meeting by welcoming the press in attendance. Schorr Johnson, NCDP Communications Director, had been kind enough to give me a press pass so I sat up front near the stage where I could hear just about everything, but gave myself a case of whiplash trying to see the delegates as they stepped to the various microphones to speak. Jerry not only invited the press, something the NCGOP had not done for their convention, he invited the few protestors that were outside to come in and join the convention.

I have to take Jerry's word for it that there were actually protestors. I did not see them shortly before noon, nor did I see them a couple of hours later when I took a blogging break at the Radisson across the street. It was classy of the guy to step outside and welcome them in, even if they didn't take advantage of the invitation.

Oh, and Jerry runs a meeting like noone else I've ever seen. At times it seemed like everyone and their brother and sister were going to try to make changes to the platform, but Jerry kept the meeting moving along quickly and the delegates stayed on their toes to close debate and move to a vote without letting the debates drag into arguments. This doesn't mean the meeting didn't drag a bit longer than some of us liked, but Jerry definately kept the meeting moving.

There were some emotional pleas from the anti-abortion faction of the party. On one hand I do feel for them. Most differ from the party on this one issue and they stand by their convictions. They wanted language inserted into the party platform that recognizes them as a significant voice in the party and to have their differences acknowledged. While that doesn't seem unreasonable, I did have to agree with the majority who enthusiastically voted this down.

Pat Patton a delegate from Mecklenburg County spoke against the motion saying that making this consession brings attention to the choice issue as one that divides our party and gives Republicans ammunition against us. It seemed to be almost unanimous among those who spoke against this motion that Democrats are tired of the Republicans defining our party and it is time for Democrats to stand firm.

National issues also seemed to be on the minds of most in attendance. I heard delegates talking about the economy, the war in Iraq and the incompetence in the White House. Overall, though, the mood was positive and the delegates seemed excited about the prospects in the fall.

While I was blogging at the Radisson I had the pleasure to meet Rob Christensen. He saw me writing and noticed my press pass and stopped to chat. I read his article this morning in the Raleigh News and Observer and he did a good job of reporting what happened. One point I might pick with him is that he failed to give any quotes from those opposing the motion proposed by Sandy Babb of Wake Co., but he gave two quotes from anti-abortion delegates. That could have probably used some balance because there were some very eloquent speeches given against the motion.

Another point I would pick with him is that he quoted a consultant and allowed her to speak for the party instead of finding out if everyone agreed with her. This is what she said.

"By traditional rules, things should be good for us," said Beth Sibley, 33, a political consultant from Cleveland County. "But we are still in the middle of a war, and voters may not want to change. The terrorism threats and the war still hold strong sway.

"We'd like to make it a referendum on Bush, [Tom] DeLay, [Dick] Cheney and [Jack] Abramoff," she said, referring to the former House majority leader, the vice president and a Republican lobbyist convicted on influence-peddling charges.

This has been the only person in this state that I've heard who wants to make it a referendum on this list of corrupt Republicans. Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff? It's one thing to refer to them and to remind people of the corruption that is rampant in Republican Washington, but it is an entirely different thing to make the entire election about these people.

What I was hearing from the delegates as their main issues were the economy and the war in Iraq. You want to know what's funny? Those are the top two issues across the country that were highlighted in the last Pew poll. They were followed by immigration and gas prices, but I didn't hear any delegates talking about either of those issues. In North Carolina it seems health care and education are running third and fourth.

On a happy personal note I had the chance to meet Robert. He was in the midst of all the delegates, so he might have heard something different from the folks he was sitting around. It was great to put a face with a name. Maybe we will all have a chance to get together before Lance heads down to Atlanta.

I wasn't able to stay for the Sanford-Hunt Dinner, but from the comments at BlueNC it sounds like the dinner was a success and folks had a great time. It looks like Jim Hunt might have to fight off a push to get him to run for Senate. I'm old enough to remember those days. In fact, I still have a button. Go Jim, Go!


Thank You!

For this wonderful write-up. I really wish I could have been there, but your reporting eases the pain.

We understand that it is study time

That bar exam won't pass itself, you know. I'm just really happy I went. I found out later that a good friend who lives close went and left at the same time. She also wasn't staying for the dinner. She just changed jobs though and we didn't have time to get together on a car pool.

I was looking for the good things. Someone a bit more cynical will have a different view.

I'm very impressed with Jerry Meek and enjoyed meeting Schorr Johnson.

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

Great reporting, SD

And thanks for calling the Rob Christensen story out. I'm glad to hear he's a nice guy and all, but his kind of "balance" leaves a lot to be desired.

You're wondeful to put so much time and energy into the convention. I agree with Lance. It seems like I was there . . . for which I am greatly appreciative.

Thanks, A

From what I hear you will need to rent a stadium to hold all the people who want to attend your fundraiser. This is really great news!

I don't have the link, but the Greensboro paper had a great story too. Very accurate from what I can tell.

The Charlotte paper....Nada, zilch, nothing.

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

Hey Beth, if you are reading this:

Who (or is it "whom?")did you mean by "we?" Did you mean the state party, the national party, or you and your two traveling companions who shall remain nameless? Inquiring minds want to know.

You told me you were reading this blog but didn't yet have anything to post. Well, here's your chance. I swear Southern Dem is a pussycat. (Well, most of the time)

Also, were you quoted accurately and in context?
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the Drama.

Beth is entitled to her opinion

It's the reporter's responsibility to interview enough people to either reach a consensus for the group (Democrats) or to interview someone who actually IS representing the group. (Elected officials/executive board members/Jerry Meek) He used her quote to lead into the fact that delegates weren't speaking of Jim Black/corruption.

This election will not be about corruption in Washington. I'm not saying it won't be handy to have when we need a little something extra, but I'd bet a large majority of North Carolinians don't know who Jack Abramoff is - or if they know, they don't care.

DQ - I owe you an email. Let me finish packing my bedroom. This is going to be a long one! ;)

Oh - the exception to the corruption not being an issue - it will certainly be an issue for someone who is actually corrupt themselves like Charles Taylor. But that's not true for most other Reps in NC.

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

...and by Reps I mean

representatives...not Republicans.

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

Like Anglico said

It seems like I was there ... which I was. But you got the better seats. Had to stand up in mine to see over the balcony railing if I wanted to get all the blow-by-blow.

Great job.

Next time I'm wearing a huge sign

I can't believe so many of us were in the same building and I didn't get to meet the rest of you. I'm happy I met Robert, but wish that I'd had a chance to chat with everyone else. Next year we will have a BlueNC caucus or meet for brunch or something.

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

I'm a newbie to BlueNC and the State Convention

But, I have enjoyed both. It's always great to be in the same room with people who agree with you politically. I, too, felt for the "anti-abortion" crowd a bit, but I do believe they were setting up a false dilemna with their continual trips to the mic. Of course there is place for them in our party, but their issue is one that a majority feel differently about. As was pointed out by one of the delegates, within the first few paragraphs, the platform states that we Dems understand and acknowledge that not all members agree with every plank. So, while those on the "anti-abortion" side certainly have a place in our party, their stance was already covered early on (although, admittedly in a vague way). I will give credit to at least one of the anti speakers sitting near me who seemed rather good natured about the defeat of his proposal. He seemed to know it was a long shot.

With that said, I look forward to more state meetings and to conversing with all of you here in the future.

My first meeting too....

I will go to as many as are open to the public.

I failed to mention that Ed Ridpath was there - at least I think he was. I know he visits BlueNC. I'd like to meet him, so wish I'd hunted him down in the theater.

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

pictures of protesters outside

I was there too and actually went outside to take a picture of the protesters (I'm always up for a good laugh).
You can see all 7 of them in the picture. They came to claim that the NCDP is the party of corruption.
Seems to me that republicans are the last people on this planet that we need to take ethics lectures from.

Inside the crowd was a lot bigger. I actually couldn't get everyone in the same frame. There were several hundreds of attendants.

That's where they were?

Why not come closer to the entrance? That street corner was so far away from where everyone was entering very few probably saw them.

I'm in your second picture. I was sitting in the front row in front of the green sign. I have on a tan can barely see me, but I'm there. That part in the middle was the only vacant area I could see, but I didn't go upstairs after it had filled.

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

Great post!

It was great to meet you, Southern Dem, and I'm glad you enjoyed the convention. This is an excellent write-up. It's cross-posted on

Today's Sanford-Hunt Dinner write up in the Raleigh News and Observer is worth reading as well. It shows why the NCDP held the event and why these leaders matter to us today.

Thanks to all who attended and made the convention weekend a success!

Schorr Johnson
Communications Director
NC Democratic Party

Thanks Schorr!

Everyone did a great job. It sounds like you had a lot of new folks in attendance from the posts here.

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