Democrats gearing up for election season

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, March 25, 2014

In response to the many changes being made by a GOP-led General Assembly, local Democrats are organizing, prepping for the coming election season.

“I think that with the Democratic party — what I’m hearing from people — is they are concerned about the trends they’re seeing,” said Laurel Miller, chair of the Beaufort County Democratic Party. “I feel like those changes have really motivated people to get involved and get people out to the polls.”

To that end, North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Steve Voller paid the Beaufort County organization a visit in December to help leaders organize a party that maintained control of state house and senate for so long, it grew comfortable, according to Miller.

The reversal means the Beaufort County Democratic Party is revving up, holding monthly, countywide meetings, organizing precincts in places where participation had dwindled and preparing to elect district and state convention delegates. An invitation is being issued to the public to attend the Beaufort County Democratic Party’s annual convention at 10 a.m. April 5, where area Democratic candidates for office will share their visions for the office for which they are running.

“There will be lots of information about voter education, access to healthcare, voter suppression, the things that are happening in our education system,” Miller said. “It’s just a good place to talk with likeminded people, if you’re concerned with what’s going on.”

In addition to the county convention, at 7 p.m. April 8, the party will hold a forum for all Democratic candidates for the upcoming sheriff’s office race at the Beaufort County Courthouse. Todd Alligood, Gary Blount, Russell Davenport, Valiant Scales and Al Whitney will be given a few minutes to introduced themselves, then will answer predetermined questions from moderator Bartow Houston.

“Everywhere I go, people are asking me ‘Who should I vote for for sheriff?’ and I certainly can’t answer that question for them,” Miller said. “That’s one of the races where there’s a whole lot of interest and people really want to make a good choice. (The forum) will give everybody an opportunity to hear from everyone all at once — to see them all in one place and help them make a more informed choice.”

The sheriff’s office forum is also open to the public, she said.