Wednesday, May 16, 2012
When, for example, will Charlotte residents and uptown businesses be informed about security requirements and how their lives will be affected?
"Months in advance," Kerrigan said. How many months? Kerrigan declined to be more specific. For families and businesses trying to plan for summer, yesterday would be good.
How much have you raised toward the $37 million the convention needs?
"We're right on track." How much is that? "We're right on track."
Are you concerned about any potential damage to Democrats resulting from the mess with David Parker, the chairman of the N.C. Democratic Party who promised to resign after a sexual harassment scandal at party headquarters but has decided to stay on?
"David Parker is a good Democrat," he said, preferring to let the state party sort out its own matters.
Kerrigan was more talkative on other issues. He repeated that he was proud of the Democrats' promise not to raise money from corporations or lobbyists for the convention. When we pointed out that the host committee is raising millions of corporate dollars to pay for an array of expenses, he said that the host committee and the DNC committee are separate, and if the host committee wants to raise corporate dollars, that's their business. When we suggested that to the public that may appear to be splitting hairs, he said, "It's an important hair to split."
Kerrigan was also refreshingly open about the fact that politics was a major consideration in bringing the convention to Charlotte. "This is going to be a nail-biter of a state, a nail-biter of an election," he said, and that swing-state status was one of the main reasons Obama is coming here in September. Kerrigan said that when he worked to bring the DNC to safely Democratic Boston in 2004, he argued that where the convention is held matters little when it comes to winning a state. Now he argues the opposite, and says that's because the convention has changed -- from just "a TV show" to a tool for recruiting volunteers, registering people to vote and otherwise engaging with voters.
Asked how a proposed new voter ID law could affect President Obama's chances in North Carolina, Kerrigan said: "It's people playing politics with people's rights. Voting is a fundamental American right."
-- Taylor Batten
Posted by Observer editorial board at 11:57 AM