Under the Dome

Dome: Democrats reach out to all N.C. counties

December 8, 2011 

The Democratic National Convention Committee is launching a 100-county outreach effort to engage activists in the convention process.

Starting in January, convention staffers will travel around the state to identify "convention community organizers" for each county who will serve as ambassadors to the Charlotte convention.

"With the 100-county plan, we hope to engage a convention community organizer from each county in the state and gather ideas to help ensure that this convention is truly representative of the state and representative of the state of North Carolina, and reflective of the ideas of it citizens," said Steve Kerrigan, the convention's CEO.

The committee hopes to announce organizers for all 100 counties by March.

The effort in North Carolina is similar to what occurred during the Democratic convention in Colorado in 2008. Republicans said the Denver convention effort was transformed into a fall campaign effort on behalf of Democrat Barack Obama. The Charlotte convention will begin Sept. 3.

Mayhem foreseen

Speaking of the convention, Rolling Stone reporter Tim Dickinson predicts it will bring mayhem to Charlotte.

In a story on its website Wednesday, Dickinson opened with this paragraph: "By all rights, 2012 ought to be a cakewalk for the GOP. Unemployment is pandemic. Riot police are confronting protesters in public squares and on college campuses.

"In an epic fail(ure) of foresight, the Democratic convention will be held in one of the world's banking centers, Charlotte, North Carolina - setting the stage for violent clashes not seen since the streets of Chicago, 1968."

"I hope they keep this up," gloated Grover Norquist, one of the Republican Party's most influential strategists. "Hippies elected Nixon. Occupy Wall Street will beat Obama."

Fishing for muck

Indictments of three of Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue's 2008 campaign aides and supporters and a new investigation of her opponent have given campaign strategists and ad-makers plenty to work with in their likely rematch. That hasn't stopped them from looking for more.

An opposition researcher has been scouring records in Charlotte covering Republican Pat McCrory's 14-year tenure as mayor, and even before.

For months, researcher Ian Mandel, whose Washington firm the Democratic Governors Association has paid at least $23,000, has sought records of McCrory's travel, aides' salaries, city budgets and discrimination complaints against the city.

He even asked for reports and witness statements involving a 1992 car crash in which McCrory admitted running a red light.

McCrory aides liken the search to last week's announcement that the state elections board will investigate a complaint against McCrory's 2008 campaign against Perdue. The complaint, filed in April 2010, accused McCrory of coordinating with an independent committee of the Republican Governors Association.

McCrory adviser Brian Nick calls both the complaint and the Charlotte records search "frivolous."

"It's just another example of wasting taxpayer money to do political fishing expeditions," he said.

Republicans also have asked for public records from Perdue's administration. It's unclear whether they're destined to be used in the campaign.

Staff writers John Frank and Rob Christensen, and Charlotte Observer staff writer Jim Morrill

rchristensen@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4532

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