Conventions serve as rally for party causes

By Mary Katherine Murphy

March 18, 2014

LAURINBURG — This weekend’s annual Scotland County Republican Party Convention will provide a chance for the group to discuss what local issues to bring to the forefront statewide as well as to elect members to champion those issues at this year’s district and state level conventions.

“It’s a mechanical-functional thing,” said chairman Mark Schenck. “We do have different things we propose as far as what the county would like to see in the state.”

The county party is allowed 15 delegates and 15 alternates at the 8th congressional district convention in Albemarle next month as well as the state convention, to be held in Cherokee from June 6-8.

“It’s a very important part of the function of the Scotland County Republican Party in terms of addressing the political climate that exists in our county, in our state, and of course in our nation,” vice-chairman Charles Brown said of the county-level convention.

Having served as a delegate to the district and state conventions since 2010, Brown said that they are concerned more with issues than with the current election cycle.

“The state conventions are very well-attended and usually Scotland County has a number of delegates,” he said. ‘There are always good speakers and good information-sharing.”

The Scotland County GOP convention will be held on Saturday in the party’s headquarters on U.S. 401. The registration and social period will begin at 12:15 p.m., with the convention beginning at 1 p.m. The event speaker has not yet been announced.

Also rallying delegates to their party’s district level and statewide conventions, members of the Scotland County Democratic Party will hold a convention at 10 a.m. on April 5 at the county courthouse.

“The basic thing is party organization,” said secretary Wilson McCall. “We’re making sure to get out sort of referendum we need to to the district or the state in terms of fundraising events or procedures.”

Key issues will include promoting votership, voting law changes taking effect in the coming years, and exploring potential fundraising avenues.

“One important thing is the get out the vote campaign — that’s part of what we do all the time really, but with the primary coming up in May that will be one of the main issues,” said vice-chair Joyce McDow.

The party did not hold a convention last year, as the party’s leaders failed to organize the precincts, and county Democrats lost recognition as a unified entity. Having officially reorganized, the party represents about 95 percent of the county’s registered Democrats with eight out of 10 precincts active.

“In comparison we’re light years ahead of where we were last year, when we were not recognized by the district or state Democratic parties,” McCall said.

Both party conventions are open to for public attendance, but only registered party members may participate and be elected as county delegates.

Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 17. Follow her on Twitter @emkaylbg.