While a handful of Surry County residents are in Charlotte this week attending the Democratic National Convention, no county residents were tapped to serve as delegates or alternates, Democratic party officials said Wednesday.
According to Erica Smith, chairman of the Surry County Democrats’ Executive Committee, no one was selected as a delegate or alternate this year.
But that doesn’t mean there are no county Democrats at the convention.
Smith said she has heard that four teens from the Surry County Young Democrats received spectator tickets from the North Carolina Young Democrats, and two county residents — Hazel Wilmouth and Gloria Lawrence — received tickets in the nose-bleed seats through their volunteer efforts.
But with access to the convention floor tightly controlled, that doesn’t mean they’ll be rubbing elbows with the likes of Michelle Obama.
“As far as I know, they’ll have spectator seats in the very upper levels,” Smith said.
Delegates to the convention are selected through a “very complicated process,” she added.
“You go to a district or state convention, fill out a lot of paperwork and mail it in and you’re elected by the district or state party officers to attend,” she said. “What happens is each county is allocated so many votes, and the smaller counties don’t have that many votes, so larger counties often have a better chance.”
Smith was an alternate delegate in 2008, but said with the convention being held in Charlotte this year there was a lot of interest.
“Everyone wanted to go,” she said. “It’s pretty rare for local people to be selected to be a delegate.”
But that doesn’t mean Smith doesn’t want to be there.
“It’s sort of sad,” she said. “I’d love to have had the chance to go because it’s in North Carolina and I think it would be super to be able to witness it live and see all those people you read about and see on television.”
For this year’s 46th Democratic National Convention, the total number of delegates are expected to number about 6,000, with all 50 states represented.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.