20 May 2006

State Convention Live Blogging 11:30 AM

I'm here in Greeley, Colorado, live blogging the Democratic Party State Convention.

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This morning, over pancakes provided by "Be The Change," I caught up with Pacified, the organizer of Colorado Soapblox, and Drinking Liberally organizer John. Elswhere among the pancake eaters, much of the buzz was about Denver's prospect for getting the Democratic Party National Convention in 2008. Two live donkeys roam in front of the convention hall set the scene.

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Angie Paccione's campaign, Angie is the Democratic candidate in the 4th Congressional District against Marilyn Musgrave, has made a particular effort to stay connected to Colorado bloggers.

My main job at the convention, besides voting, has been to handle credentials (i.e. checking people in and making sure that only the people sent here by their counties vote). As it happened, I ended up registering delegates from Mesa County, next to delegations from Lincoln County, Logan County and a few other rural Colorado countires. What I heard from them, talking among themselves, is how hard Angie has been working the grass roots. She's been going to every little town and hamlet, from Kiowa County, to the town of Akron, to a dozen other places most people know only from maps. They recognize that those aren't the population centers of the district, but that this isn't the point. The point is than Paccione cares about the entire districts.

She hopes to repeat John Salazar and Ken Salazar's feat of connecting with rural Colorado, even if not always to win a majority, but to not be blow away there, as so many urban candidates have, and this has been highlighted this morning in a lengthy speech from John Salazar emphasizing how Democrats are serving rural Colorado. This followed, not much later, with her being given pride of place and a standing ovation as candidates were intorduced.

With the winds blowing the way of Democrats, incumbents Mark Udall, Diana DeGette, John Salazar have faded into the background, and even the 7th Congressional District race, while crucial, has not been center stage (in part because the intra-party fight has not yet been resolved). Angie, in contrast, opened up with an entire brass band introducing her and serving as her benediction.

Angie's own speech reminded us that she went to college on a basketball player, school teacher, and that she is a Fort Collins state representative. She is running as a common sense, bread and butter, candidate opposed to the corruption of the Republican and Marilyn Musgrave's focus on nothing (in both the Colorado legislature and in Congress) on other people's bedrooms. She may be a Stanford University graduate born in New York City, but the rhythm of her speech on the podium is all working class.

Stan Matsunaka's race against Marilyn Musgrave in 2004 was close. Democrats can taste the possibility of winning the 4th CD this year, with the wind blowing their way and a continuing lackluster performance from Musgrave. Diana DeGette caught the mood of the Assembly when she asked it: "Do you smell blood?"

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A state convention, especially in a year like this one, is not simply a meeting to conduct business. It is an opportunity to meet and greet. To connect with candidates and their supporters, to make things happen behind the scenes. As in the legislature, much of the real action is in the lobby.

Honestly, this year's convention has been a subdued one. The networking is deliberate, rather than frantic. Most of the thousands of delegates at the event are simply soaking it in.

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The four cases of beer I mentioned yesterday was duly delivered to the proper person, after a pidgeonholed the rightful owner coming off the main stage.

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The BS of my own credential's committee's report, the permanent organization committee report, introductions, the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem, and the like were dispensed with relatively quickly (for Democrats). The issues with the party platform has been spun well, and more importantly, honestly, by acknowleding that they didn't have a quorum to run the platform committee meeting, and taking a great deal of time to set forth their process and decision to justify their decisions.

The resulting platform, in this case a more openly acknowledged jumble of grass roots expressions of concern that most, is not work of art, and isn't that important, but it does serve as a resource to what the grass roots are thinking.

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More next post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

NOT voting for Angie -- she or staff do NOT respond to E-mails (x3) or phone calls.

NOT voting for Musgrave -- but I know tons of Dems who speak of her kind assistance with their problems with govt programs.

Voting Reform this year-- that slot. Angie is about Angie -- and I DO VOTE! Every election -- even health district where .5 % of voters decided the election. AND I'm sharing my opinion every opportunity I have with all my Dem friends. Enough is enough! The DEMs should be about justice for all -- not just special interests and pet causes!