With only 51 days remaining until the November election, Sampson’s Democrat and Republican parties are readying for the race. Democratic interim chairwoman Tomeka Blue and Republican chairman Curtis Barwick both spoke with The Independent to share their views of where their party is and what lies ahead as the election approaches.
Blue is acting chairwoman for the Sampson County Democrat Party standing in for chairman Marcus Bass who is currently working with the statewide campaign and had to step down from the chairmanship. A
She expressed that the Democratic Party is doing well in the county, state and nation. Blue also feels that the convention has given new energy to the party.
“The convention was fantastic. It was an excellent example of the unity and strength that the Democratic Party exemplifies on a daily basis,” expressed Blue. “The convention has certainly produced a bump in enthusiasm and we are very pleased with the increase in volunteers that have joined us at headquarters that have been spurred on by the convention,” added the chairwoman. “We see this as a very positive move to helping build enthusiasm in our Democratic voter base and will help us to get out the vote in November.”
The chairwoman stated that locally there was only one contested race, Register of Deeds, a position currently held by Democrat Eleanor Bradshaw. The county commissioner seat currently held by John Blanton is not contested.
“The Sampson County Democratic Party is doing all we can to mobilize our Democratic voter base to come together and join the get out the vote campaign. We are setting up district representatives at precinct sites over the county to ensure everyone has the opportunity to get out and vote in November,” cited Blue.
Several events are currently planned while others are still being developed by the Democrats in Sampson.
“We have already planned a number of events and have others that we are still working on to build more enthusiasm. Our biggest fundraising event is our Draw Down which will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4 at the Agri-Exposition Center. We also have several precinct rallies planned at county headquarters and others in the districts across the county. Plans are in the works for the Democrat Men and Democrat Women to hold their meetings with special speakers. Dates will be announced later. We are also holding debate watches at Democratic Headquarters, located at 303 E. Main St., Clinton,” explained Blue.
The Democratic chairwoman offered a special invitation to any interested young people to come join the political process.
“We want any young people that may have not been involved in the political process to come join us as a volunteer. It is important for them to learn and understand that the decisions that are being made in today’s legislature not only impact us but will have serious affects on them as our future,” stated Blue. “Through volunteering our young people can discover and learn first-hand how the political process works and know that they played a part in the future of our county, state and nation,” added the chairwoman.
Blue is very excited at the current state of her party.
“I am very excited at what the polls currently reflect. The Democratic Party is on its way up. It is on its way up due to the support President Obama has given to support local government through the stimulus program. Those monies helped to curb the affects of the Republican controlled state House and Senate and their heavy cuts to programs such as education. The president’s stimulus money helped to save many teaching jobs in our county and also provided funds that have helped to rebuild many of the county’s roads and bridges,” cited Blue. “Our party has also seen great strides made in the unity of the party which is the people’s party. And because of the unity we now have we have been able to offset some of the affects of the current political powers in the state,” added the chairwoman.
In the matter of early voting, Blue responded that over the next month the Democrats are planning several get out the vote activities to ensure that eligible voters get to the polls to uplift the Democratic ticket.
“We are all working really hard to get new voters registered and to ensure that anyone wanting to vote can have the opportunity to do so. We want to show our support for all our candidates that are running for office locally, state and nationally. We must get out the vote,” stressed Blue.
The Sampson County Democratic Headquarters is located at 303 E. Main St., Clinton and the phone number is 299-0603.
Sampson County Republican Party chairman shared that he felt his party had a very successful convention despite being cut short a day by Hurricane Isaac.
“We had a lot of great speeches made during the convention and I feel the convention was very successful in raising our party’s enthusiasm for our candidates from the local elections to the national candidates. The speakers laid out our platform with the party’s vision and plans for the future. We showed that change is not always good. Gov. Romney did a good job,” commented Barwick.
The Republican chairman shared that his party also received a bump following the campaign.
“We received a bump after the convention but like the Democrats it did not last long before it went flat,” cited the chairman. “Polls are very interesting and it is odd that depending on which one you are viewing … oftentimes it can vary nearly from day to day as to who is leading. I feel confident that we will continue to lead in the polls through November,” added Barwick.
With only weeks before the election, the upcoming debates could make a difference, he stressed.
“I think the debates will change some of the minds of those who are still undecided. I feel good about our chances,” said Barwick. “If people will sit down and really look at the two candidates for president they will see two distinct differences between,” stated the chairman.
The county Republicans are also planning events to ensure their candidates get elected in November.
“We are joining with Harnett and Johnston counties next Saturday, at Triton High School, for a McCrory rally. We are also planning another Rally in the Park but the date has not been set yet. We are having a drawing on Sept. 27 at the Agri-Exposition Center to help raise funds and we will be conducting training for poll judges, workers and watchers as well,” cited Barwick.
“Romney has a number of people on the ground here in the state and their work is trickling down to help us locally. Although we only have the one contested race for Register of Deeds, we feel that Sharon Carter has an excellent chance to win because of her many years spent in that office. I am seeing a lot of excitement in Republicans, unaffiliated voters and old Southern Democrats that want to see a change in Washington and this is our year,” remarked the Republican chairman.
Barwick sees the Republican Party continuing to make gains in the future.
“We are going up. Things were really tough in 2008. But with the changes that took place in 2010 a lot of good things are happening in Raleigh. The biggest problem that exists is that we spend too much. Everyone has got to tighten their belts. We can’t do everything for everybody. There just isn’t enough money. We can’t make it a blame game either. We all must work together to solve the problems we face,” stressed Barwick.
The county Republican chairman feels that early voting is a good thing but does not feel we need three weeks for early voting.
“I feel that a week would be long enough for early voting. If someone wants to vote a week would be long enough. In that same light, I feel we also need a valid photo ID in order to cut down on possible voter fraud. We are very fortunate here in Sampson County in that we have a very good staff at the Board of Elections and they do a great job trying to make sure that those who are properly registered are allowed to vote. We are doing everything we can, such as calling and knocking on doors, to get people out to vote. If we can get them to vote early, then we have that one in the house,” asserted Barwick.
Barwick stated that the county Republican Headquarters, located at 107 Wall St., Clinton, would soon be having extended hours and posters and bumper stickers would be available. The Republican Headquarters phone number is 596-2100.