Convention fun fact of the day: The 2012 Democratic National Convention is the first nominating convention held in North Carolina.
Washington Post: Democrats hope Charlotte convention can help deliver North Carolina for Obama
“Rather than utilizing the convention simply to anoint the nominee, Democrats hope to deploy it as a organizing vehicle in North Carolina. Four years ago, Obama’s team used the Denver convention to assemble a grass-roots army of thousands that was widely credited with helping him win Colorado, a battleground state that propelled him to victory against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). They packed Invesco Field the night Obama spoke with a record convention crowd of more than 84,000 — but only after taking many of their names and e-mail addresses and asking them to help for the duration of the campaign.Whether Obama an amass a similar army in Charlotte could determine his fate in North Carolina and nationally in November. The president’s field operation — a network of offices and on-the-ground staffers, along with volunteers focused on registering voters and turning them out on Nov. 6 — is widely viewed as one of his leading advantages against his Republic challenger, Mitt Romney. But it is hard to judge the effectiveness of the operation until the convention, when the army will either assemble or it won’t. Steve Kerrigan, the chief executive of the Democratic convention, said holding a convention in a swing state does not automatically swing that state in your candidate’s direction. “It’s how you use it,” he said. “There were 44 Democratic conventions before the Denver convention,” Kerrigan said. “We lost 22 states that hosted us and we won 22 states. It was an even split because we used the convention as a nominating tool, and then we moved on.” That changed dramatically in 2008, when 25,000 volunteers were signed up at Invesco Field. The rest, Kerrigan said, is history….It also means a convention focused less on introducing the president and more on engaging his troops and the public. There is an outdoor street festival on Labor Day open to anyone. One of the key themes of the convention will be inclusion and community service, meant to connect with a broad range of Democrats, and a final day of speeches at a huge outdoor stadium where tens of thousands of seats will be made available to the public, not just delegates. Romney and his allies, in contrast, are spending much more of their money on the airwaves, bombarding North Carolinians with television ads rather than trying to match Obama’s field operation on the ground. And in Tampa, where the Republicans just held their convention, the biggest public event was a party thrown by Rep. Ron Paul's insurgent campaign….”
On the convention blog…
Thousands of Volunteers Prepare for Convention
This weekend thousands of Americans flocked to Uptown Charlotte, where many of them had their first official day of training as convention volunteers. The halls of the Charlotte Convention Center and Bank of America Stadium were filled with enthusiasm as dedicated supporters came to help make the 2012 Democratic National Convention a success. “I’m looking forward to seeing everybody taking part in such an incredible opportunity,” said Tara Ruhlen who is volunteering with her mother in the Security Department. “It’s the people and the energy that is so exciting,” Tara’s mother, Cathy Ruhlen said. Volunteers from all walks of life joined us from across the U.S. to participate in this historic convention. Over 10,000 volunteers from every state in the country are expected to play an instrumental role in the execution of this week’s events. “We literally cannot have this convention without them. They are key to the success of the whole operation,” said Marquita Sanders, Director of Volunteer Coordination of the Democratic National Convention Committee. “I like volunteers. That’s why I have this job.” Volunteers offered their support months before the convention, and many more signed up than there were spots available. “I’m just so grateful to be able to come to Charlotte and be a part of this historic convention,” said Evelyn Davis from Brooklyn, New York. Volunteers assist on all aspects of the convention - from transportation and security to scheduling elected officials. For some volunteers, particularly for local residents, the training and experience they receive prepares them for future employment and equips the city to take on other conventions and large scale events. “This is the most exciting thing to happen to Charlotte. It will have a long lasting impact,” Charlotte residents David and Beth Hill said.
Delegates Arrive in Charlotte with Enthusiasm
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport braced for the flow of arriving delegates on Saturday morning, as volunteers armed themselves with maps, restaurant recommendations, and directions for navigating the city. Nebraska delegate Graham Christensen stopped by the main information desk for delegates in baggage claim to grab a map of uptown Charlotte. He is ready to discuss farm issues with other delegates at the convention. The land where he farms corn and soybeans has been in his family for 145 years. “I’m going to be very excited to see the President, and I’m looking forward to hearing him speak,” he said. “He has shown the ability to give everything his all to get us in a position where everybody has a chance. We are not going downhill anymore.” Patricia Yount, a delegate from Indiana, stopped on her way through baggage claim to reflect on her memories of marching for civil rights and protesting the Vietnam War during her college years. Now, she’s most concerned about protecting women’s rights. “It’s important to be here,” Patricia says, hoping to move women’s equality forward, not backwards. Danni Green, a delegate from Texas, wore a jeweled red-and-blue striped donkey on a necklace around her neck. “I was in Denver in 2008 and so I’m most excited about hearing President Obama,” she said. “I believe in his plan going forward.” Twin brothers Travis and Rusty Merriweather of Texas arrived as delegates – Travis a national delegate, and Rusty a state delegate. Both said they’re looking forward to the networking opportunities being offered in the coming days. “I’m most excited about being part of the democratic process,” Travis said. “I realized that voting wasn’t going to be enough for this election – I had to be a part of the process. By midday, volunteers at the delegate information desk had helped about 50 delegates – but they expected to see about 1,000 by day’s end. The most common questions, said volunteer Sharon Blackmon, were about where to eat (she recommends Mert’s Heart & Soul restaurant) and where to go for fun (she’s sending them to the EpiCentre for entertainment). For more great places around Charlotte, download the DNC 2012 mobile app. Patricia Moore said she’s looking forward to volunteering every day during the coming week. “I’m just excited to be here,” she said. “We’re expecting about 3,000 people tomorrow, and 5,000 on Monday. For me, it feels like we’re participating in history.”
SOURCE: DNC Tip Sheet