Charlotte, N.C. — The festivities surrounding the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte are in stark contrast to the rough year Democrats in North Carolina have had to endure.
Gov. Beverly Perdue surprised many when she decided in January not to seek re-election, leaving the party at a financial and organizational disadvantage. Republicans controlled redistricting for the first time in more than a century, creating new legislative and congressional districts that could make Democrats more of a minority in the General Assembly.
The state Democratic Party also was criticized for its handling of sexual harassment claims by a former staffer against the executive director, who subsequently resigned.
Yet, party Chairman David Parker, who withstood a challenge to his own position in the sex harassment scandal, said Tuesday that the party is unified despite the fractures.
"I didn't know there was any turmoil that would influence a single voter," Parker said. "I don't think any voters are going to make any decisions (based) on inside baseball."
He and other party leaders seemed eager to look forward, not backward, as they led what amounted to a breakfast pep rally for North Carolina convention delegates.
"The few issues we've had inside the party will not affect this election in any way. I'm confident of that," 1st District Congressman G.K. Butterfield said.
"I think we're past that. We're concentrating on winning the election and not worrying about our internal difficulties," 4th District Congressman David Price said.
"It's not totally solved, but we've got a good campaign together that's got all of us engaged, and that's what really counts right now," Price said.
Parker echoed those sentiments.
"Voters will talk about and think about jobs. They'll think about education. They'll think about the issues relevant in their day-to-day lives," he said.