Saturday March 24, signaled the beginning of the 2008 political season for Larry Kissell. Young Dems, College Dems and Teen Dems of North Carolina were there to help him kick it off. We all know Larry is running again. He put us out of our misery by declaring his intentions immediately after November's elections. He plans to spread the official word about his campaign throughout the district by attending each Democratic convention over the next month to make sure he meets at least 330 new Democrats and re-energizes those who have been with him from the beginning.
I did not have time on Saturday to attend the convention, but regret now that I didn't figure a way to make it happen. Thomas Brock will fill everyone in on the happenings of the day. I was disappointed I missed Ed Cone and Chris Bowers giving a presentation on the internet and political activism which is a session I know I would have enjoyed. As far as I'm concerned, this convention will be a must-attend each year. It was very energizing for the short time I was there to see the young(er) leaders in our party.
Now, for the reception for Larry. One word. Wow.
Find out more (with pics) on the flip...
If you have ever held an event for a candidate you know the anxiety felt by organizers and supporters. Will anyone come? Will anyone donate? Do we have enough food/drinks? Do I look fat in these slacks? OK...well...maybe not that last one. As time for the event approaches, organizers can be gripped with fear as they ask, "what if nobody shows up!?". Every candidate I've ever supported has been through it and while the fundraisers I attended for Larry last year were well-stocked with supporters, I know there had to be some anxiety about this first one - especially with Artur Davis in attendance.
Not to worry. The suite was packed. At times we were shoulder-to-shoulder with people spilling out into the hall. I arrived a few minutes late thinking folks would be trickling in, but as Thomas (He introduces himself as Tom, but I've always known him as Thomas), Emily and I approached the room we could hear there was a party going on.
So much for getting there early. I tried, but was a few minutes late.
Happily, I didn't miss too much. I was delighted to see Congressman Artur Davis again. I didn't expect him to remember me from his visit to Charlotte last year where we struggled to fill the small room reserved at Veteran's Park. He seemed genuinely delighted at the turnout and even mentioned the difference in attendance at the two events. He stressed to me that we(Larry's fans) had "filled this hotel suite with supporters."
What can I say? Larry's a rock star. OK, OK, I'm just a wee bit biased. Seriously, though, Larry had plenty of fans there to show their support. What a great way to start off the '08 campaign.
Congressman Brad Miller was also there to show his support. He had the honor of introducing Congressman Artur Davis. Everybody here knows I'm an avid Brad Miller fan, but each time I see him I am struck by how funny he is. Emily was especially excited to meet him and when she put her hand out to shake his, Rep. Miller had to take her hand very gingerly. He was obviously nursing an injury and explained he had strained a finger. Heh heh, signing all those subpoena requests can be hard work, right?
There was one thing that stood out in what Rep. Miller said. He stressed in one comment that Artur Davis is sure he's found his man for the 8th. That's music to the ears of those of us who worked so hard over the last campaign season while the DCCC passed up on supporting Larry Kissell. Rep. Davis did what he could last year, but Rahm and company didn't move quickly enough to make the difference needed to win.
Rep. Artur Davis introduced Larry Kissell. It's obvious Davis is a fan and the enthusiastic crowd hopefully showed the Congressman that his support and loyalty are warranted. We will all help Larry to continue earning that support and I'm pretty sure that fact didn't slip by the Congressman.
One thing is a bit different this time around. Larry is running like the frontrunner out of the gate. He's already lending assistance to other prospective candidates. He and his staff wanted to make sure that two people who are considering a run for congress had a chance to meet Artur Davis. These two men were invited to attend yesterday. One is considering throwing his hat in to challenge Patrick McHenry and the other is our very own Marshall Adame.
Marshall's attendance is a story in and of itself. I was speaking with Steve Hudson from the Kissell staff and he mentioned a gentleman thinking of running in the 10th. (I'm not using his name since I have not spoken with him about publicizing his possible candidacy.) I mentioned Marshall's plan to challenge Walter Jones and since it was crunch time before the event, Steve asked me if I would contact Marshall. I emailed Marshall from his BlueNC contact info and immediately received a call from him.
Little did I know, Marshall was on a job in New Jersey. He knew this would be an important event so juggled some meetings and got on the road to North Carolina. The funny thing is, he and Thomas Brock had already exchanged emails and were planning to meet in April. We moved that meeting up a bit, I guess. Marshall is very genuine and friendly. He has a great attitude and seems to be realistic about what it will take to win.
As folks were trickling downstairs for lunch, I made my way to speak to Congressman Davis once again. I thanked him for his support and he turned it around to thank me effusively for everything we have done for Larry. I also had the opportunity to meet the minister at Larry's church and to see honorary BlueNC Woman, Tina Kissell. (I love Tina!)
Before leaving, Larry introduced me to Rep. Pricey Harrison and we chatted very briefly about blogging. She was a bit hesitant, but seems amenable to live-blogging. I'll see what I can do to make that happen.
The reception lasted about an hour after which folks headed downstairs to enjoy lunch. Emily and I hung around chatting with Hampton Dellinger and Chris Bowers for a little while. Each time I see, read about or hear from one of our candidates for Lt. Governor, I'm struck by how fortunate we are to have so many qualified leaders stepping up to run for LG.
Also, a brief note about Chris Bowers from MyDD. I didn't always agree with Chris in my early blogging days. However, over time, I've come to respect his opinion. I'm glad I had the chance to meet Chris. He's a very genuinely nice guy. He is considering attending Converge South. I encouraged him to come down. I think Converge South this year is going to be awesome and will be plugging it on BlueNC soon.
All in all, the reception was a huge success. I don't know how much money was raised and I'm not really sure that is what this event was about. I know fundraising is important, but so is raising the energy around a campaign to new levels. Take it from someone who attended her share of campaign events last season, this campaign is energized like I have never seen it before.
There's only one thing left to say:
Go Larry, Go!
Photo #1 by Emily Muse - Congressman Brad Miller, Congressman Artur Davis, Larry Kissell
Photo #2 by Emily Muse - Larry Kissell with Congressman Artur Davis
Photo #3 by SD - Larry Kissell
Photo#4 by SD - Thomas Brock, Marshall Adame & Tony Park (Marshall's campaign manager)
Photo #5 by Becky Gomer - SD/Betsy Muse and Chris Bowers from MyDD