As the remaining GOP presidential hopefuls blanket South Carolina and clog its airwaves with negative ads in anticipation of that state’s Jan. 21 primary — and the last chance for a non-Mitt Romney to catch fire — N.C. Democrats are generating enthusiasm in their own ways.
They certainly have something to rail against, namely the General Assembly’s late-night session called to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a bill that strips a teacher’s group from a dues check-off privilege. Add to that N.C. redistricting squabbles and local disagreements over everything from school board appointments to county commission leadership changes.
Some of the frustration was certainly vented at this week’s meeting of the Uptown Democratic Forum, DNC member Pat Cotham’s monthly session at the Levine Museum of the New South. Members of the North Carolina Association of Educators, the Hispanic-American Democrats of North Carolina and elected officials added their voices. (New Mecklenburg County Commission Chair Harold Cogdell sat across the room from fellow Democratic commissioner Vilma Leake — I felt a chill.)immersion in GOP politicking, I stopped by, particularly to hear the speaker, Congressman Mel Watt, bring a message from Washington. The only remarkable thing happening, Watt said, was “a lack of activity” from Republicans who “don’t believe in any government.” When he said that Barack Obama was “beginning to assert himself” after attempts at bipartisanship failed, it got warm applause in this crowd. The biggest laugh line? When Watt said that if Obama is re-elected, “Maybe we’ll even get an African American on the Supreme Court,” a shot at Justice Clarence Thomas.
In a conversation before his speech, Watt told me that though there are a lot of questions to be resolved in planning for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte — about security, perimeters, housing and more — it’s a positive move for the state and Obama’s chances of winning in North Carolina. “It’s going to mean more exposure, more trips here during the time leading up to the convention,” Watt said. “North Carolina and Virginia are considered high-priority states.”
In other convention news, the Democratic National Convention Committee, the Committee for Charlotte in 2012 and the Hargrove/Rodgers Russell Hunt convention construction management team announced subcontracting opportunities. Prequalification forms are available on the vendor directory, through the website, with a March 1 deadline. Local firms are encouraged to apply so they will be eligible to bid on categories of work including: acoustical panel ceilings, carpentry, arena seating, custodial, electrical and painting and wall covering.
Mary C. Curtis, an award-winning Charlotte, N.C.-based journalist, is a contributor to The Washington Post “She the People” blog, The Root, NPR, Creative Loafing and the Nieman Watchdog blog. Her “Keeping It Positive” segment airs Wednesdays at 7:10 on TV’s Fox News Rising Charlotte, and she was national correspondent for Politics Daily. Follow her on Twitter