Scotland County Democrats are without a permanent home for the time being because of a foreclosure on the building that the Party was renting.
Eight months after officially opening the downtown space, which housed campaign offices for Congressman Larry Kissell and Obama for America, county Party Chairman Kenton Spencer said that Democrats are left looking to establish a long-term headquarters someplace else.
“That was the ultimate goal, (to have a permanent headquarters in the downtown space). And of course, we will have a headquarters again. In what shape and what form and where – that will be up for discussion with the next chair.”
Spencer, who also serves on the Laurinburg City Council, said that he does not plan to seek another term as the party’s chairman when his term is up in April, citing a busy schedule.
According to Spencer, the party learned that the building’s owners were victims of the economic downturn last year.
Democrats were informed just prior to Election Day that they would likely be losing the site. The local Democratic Women were asked to move out in the week following the election.
“The owners of the building are rooted in this community, they own that building and other properties, and they came upon hard times, in part due to taxes from the county and so forth.”
Asking that the privacy of the building’s owners be respected, Spencer said that they were “classic victims of the economy” and that they were in their current position through no fault of their own.
“We could have opted to try and buy the building or continue rental, but because of volatility of the market and uncertainty – and it really comes down to the uncertain state of the economy in the county – we decided that it was really too much of a risk to put the membership through.”
Spencer said that a meeting of the executive board was called as well as of the executive board of the Democratic Women’s group to determine whether the party should attempt to stay in the downtown building.
“We also polled team members, and the consensus was to be conservative and play it safe and cut our losses.”
Saying that he did not regret the decision to show faith in Laurinburg’s downtown by investing there, the Chairman also pointed out that the headquarters served as a campaign base for a longer time than what he said was the typical 60 day period.
“That allowed for more in-depth campaigning … it was critical, and we registered more people to vote than ever before and that was due to having space and infrastructure to do more outreach.
“I will never regret any action that comes from faith and hope. This was an act of faith by a group of people … including the women’s group … and all the members that have donated their time, effort and money to the space.”
The Democratic Women’s group met at the Scotland County Memorial Library on Friday to discuss where to house meetings in the future.
According to member Marilyn McVicker, the library is not a long term option because it does not permit political speakers. The group will meet again on Feb. 1 at the library to continue that discussion and to work toward reorganization following an e-mail poll of their membership.