Democrats plot strategies for midterms

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Wayne Goodwin


Staff Writer

Thursday, October 11, 2018

TARBORO — National, state and local Democrats met to strategize about the upcoming midterm elections on Wednesday in Tarboro.

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-1st District; state Rep. Shelly Willingham, D-Edgecombe; and Edgecombe County Sheriff Clee Atkinson spoke to a small crowd in the auditorium of the county administration building.

Doug Wilson, the party's deputy executive director, opened the meeting by telling Democrats that the news media may believe Democrats are down and out after Judge Brett Kavanaugh was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the Democratic base has been energized ever since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.

State Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin said to be successful in the midterms, the party will have to rely on its women members.

"I know we always say this is the most important election of our lifetime," Goodwin said. "We mean it this time."

Several North Carolina election races were very close in 2016, but low voter turnout benefits Republicans, he said.

"The more people who vote, the more people who support opportunity and hope," Goodwin said.

He said Democrats need to skip over hot-button issues meant to divide and talk to people about their pocketbooks.

"People are concerned about how to pay their children's college, retirement and education," Goodwin said.

Butterfield agreed the midterms are all-important.

"Blue wave is propaganda — the election will be that close," Butterfield said holding up his fingers nearly pinched together to illistrate.

Butterfield said Democrats need to make sure people vote by finding voters who vote only in presidential elections.

"We've lost any future with Supreme Court with Kavanaugh being appointed," Butterfield said. "But we still have a chance for state high court."

Atkinson said he will continue the fight against guns on the streets and the opioid epidemic.

"We are trying to get a school resource officer in every school in Edgecombe County," Atkinson said. "That is not a political stunt."

Willingham said it's important state Democrats gain enough seats in the state House and Senate so they can break the super majority Republicans have in the General Assembly.

"Right now, they can pass anything they want and the governor can veto it — then they just override it," he said.