Convention chairman and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa returned to Charlotte on Monday to join the tableau, which included DNCC CEO Steve Kerrigan, vice president of the Charlotte Bobcats Bill Duffy and Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, to mark the passing of the keys at the Time Warner Cable Arena. Work by the convention’s construction team — the temporary re-model will cost an estimated $7 million — has already started, as a hard-hat wearing tour of suites being made media-ready proved. But there were signs that a fall election campaign is being constructed in Charlotte, as well.
Villaraigosa praised the Democrats’ September event as the “most open and accessible convention ever” — mentioning the bookending public events, including the uptown festival and the president’s Bank of America stadium speech — and tweaked Republicans for their Tampa, Fla., convention in August that he said would be held “behind closed doors.”
He was asked and answered questions in Spanish, with English translation, from members of the Spanish-language media on how the party is encouraging inclusiveness in convention and event planning. The exchanges illustrated the growth of the Hispanic population in the swing state of North Carolina — and the importance of its vote to both parties. There’s “no part of the electorate that we won’t talk to,” Villaraigosa said.
The key handover was also covered by 20 Tweetup participants from across the region who competed for the chance to live tweet at the DNC. With the focus on youth and technology, another key part of the Democratic base is being covered.
Nation Hahn of Raleigh (@NationHahn) told me he’s always been politically involved, and with his work as a digital media consultant, you can understand why the 26 year old was chosen to participate in the event. “You couldn’t ask for a better week to be promoting accessibility and transparency,” he said, alluding to the controversial decision by presumptive GOP candidate Mitt Romney to withhold his taxes. Sabrina Jackson (@Sab_1908), 31, is searching for a job in public relations in Charlotte. The self-described “heavy Tweeter” said she “wanted to be a part of history.”
Democrats hope they will be the ones making history in North Carolina.
Mary C. Curtis, an award-winning Charlotte-based journalist, is a contributor to The Washington Post's “She the People” blog, The Root and theGrio. Her “Keeping It Positive” segment airs Wednesdays at 7:10 a.m. on Fox News Rising Charlotte, and she was national correspondent for Politics Daily. Follow her on Twitter.