The Democratic National Convention, beginning today in Charlotte, N.C., aims to excite national enthusiasm for President Barack Obama, who faces a tough re-election battle, and his party but will also have a local focus on North Carolina—the state Obama won by less than 14,000 votes in 2008.
As North Carolina assumes the national spotlight, The Chronicle will provide print and online coverage to Duke students on campus, just 150 miles from the convention, and to other residents of the Triangle. Local and national editor Jack Mercola, special projects editor Nicole Kyle and online photography editor Chelsea Pieroni will be in Charlotte to live-tweet, post photos and recaps of major events and offer analysis on the numerous players at the convention. Let us know what you want to find out about by using #AskChron.
DNC programming will run through Thursday and feature North Carolinians such as Rep. David Price, a former Duke professor whose district includes the Triangle, North Carolina lieutenant governor and gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton and Sen. Kay Hagan, in addition to former president Bill Clinton and other national party leaders.
Charlotte was selected over other U.S. cities in part due to North Carolina’s battleground status. In June, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Florida congresswoman and Democratic National Committee chair, said the North Carolina host city would serve as “a phenomenal organizing tool” that could help expand Democrats’ grasp of the electoral map. Party organizers tried to showcase the state’s culture, which they hope will contribute to a strong sense of community within the Democratic party.
These efforts include a Carolina Stories Showcase”—video interviews with Charlotte residents featured on the convention’s website intended to “bring to life the what the 2012 DNC means to the Charlotte region and highlight the legacies the convention will leave behind.” Before delegates came to the city, the convention committee held a contest to choose official barbecue sauces of the convention—three winners were selected—and unveiled a “Power by the People” stock car, decorated with the names of 3,502 individuals who donated $5 or more to reelection efforts.
Senior Elena Botella, president of College Democrats of North Carolina, will experience the proceedings from the convention floor. Botella was selected as one of North Carolina’s 157 delegates. On Thursday, she and other representatives will officially renominate Obama as the party’s 2012 candidate. Additional Duke students will travel to Charlotte Thursday to watch Obama accept the nomination in person, said David Winegar, co-president of Duke Democrats.
Steve Kerrigan, CEO Democratic National Convention, called the national meeting the most “open and accessible” convention to date due to its focus on public events, including CarolinaFest, a public celebration at the Charlotte Motor Speedway yesterday, which featured performances by James Taylor, Jeff Bridges and others. Additionally, corporate donations were not accepted for this year’s convention, marking a change from past years. In 2008, Democrats raised $60 million for their Denver gathering—$40 million of that sum was donated from corporations.