As North Carolina's Democrats gather in New Bern today for the 2008 convention, it is worth noting the prominent role that the Eighth Congressional District and its delegates will have.
First of all, everyone will cheer on the Everyman of Democratic candidates for Congress: Larry Kissell of Biscoe. He is ahead in the polls, he has a stellar team, and he's got "the Big Mo" that winning grassroots campaigns must have. Expect the 1,000+ Dems in New Bern to chant his name with the hopes, intensity and fervor for every voter back west in the 8th to hear it and vote accordingly!
Second, we have a significant number of African-American Democrats, young Democrats, and disaffected rural Democrats in the Eighth District who are feeling an excitement comparable to none before: They see the incredible organizational skills of Senator Barack Obama's team touching communities that have heretofor never seen a presidential race. I still can't believe that even in my hometown of Hamlet - of all places - there was an Obama field office! A strong turnount of Dems in the Eighth will lift the fortunes of EVERY Democrat on the ballot (including yours truly), so a super-jazzed, uber-exhilarated Eighth is the key to victory, in my opinion.
Third, the Eighth is home to a fantastic array of candidates and officials who are carrying the banner high for the party and for the best interests of our region. Besides the previously mentioned Kissell, we have:
State Rep. Melanie Wade Goodwin (first on my list for many reasons!)
State Rep. Tricia Cotham (whose fiance, Jerry Meek, is NCDP Chairman and a future 8th District resident)
State Sen. Dan Clodfelter
State Rep. Garland Pierce
State Rep. Pryor Gibson
State Rep. Doug Yongue
State Sen. Bill Purcell
State Rep. Rick Glazier
NCDP First Vice Chairwoman Dannie Montgomery
Monroe Mayor Pro Tem Phil E. Bazemore
Walter Rogers of the 8th District Black Caucus
Anthony Copeland, also of the Black Caucus
Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin
Cumberland County Sheriff Moose Butler
Richmond County Sheriff Dale Furr
Anson County Sheriff Tommy Allen
Stanly County Commissioner Sherrill Smith
Judge Tanya Wallace
Judge Kevin Bridges
Judge Tripp Helms
Almeta Armstrong, Montgomery County School Board
the many active Democrats from the 8th who are going to Denver as national delegates;
Wayne Goodwin, Democratic Party nominee for NC Insurance Commissioner
... and the list could go on, and on, and on!
So as Democrats gather to rally for this weekend's State Convention, and with all the firepower that we have in our Congressional district, do expect the 8th to be upfront and outfront in leading the charge for victory in November!