“It’s really exciting to see this many people engaging so early in the election cycle,” said Democratic Party Chair Myrna Campbell.
According to data collected by the NC Democratic Party, 6,000 new Democrats attended precinct meetings for the first time in February 2017 and 243 new precincts were organized. In Haywood County, about one third of the new precinct officers elected in February are new to the Party.
Several candidates planning to run in2018 addressed the crowd, including Phillip Price and Matt Coffay who have launched campaigns for the 11th Congressional District seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-Asheville; Michael Sorrells who is running for re-election to the Haywood County Board of Commissioners; and Register of Deeds Sherri Rogers also formally announced her intent to run for re-election. A much-anticipated announcement came from Sheriff Greg Christopher who stated that he would also be a candidate for re-election in 2018.
Canton Alderman Zeb Smathers led the group of municipal candidates who will be on the ballot in November 2017 by introducing Kristina Smith who formally announced her candidacy for Canton alderwoman.
Campbell also recognized Maggie Valley Alderman Mike Eveland who announced his intent to run for re-election. While Eveland is registered as an unaffiliated voter, Campbell stressed how important she thinks it’s going to be for Democrats to acknowledge candidates like Eveland and to make an effort to engage unaffiliated voters. She pointed out that unaffiliated voters are now the second largest voting bloc in Haywood County and are almost equal in number to Democrats in some precincts.
Other speakers included former N.C. Senate candidate Jane Hipps and former N.C. House candidate Rhonda Cole Schandevel. Both indicated they are still contemplating the possibility of running in 2018. Hipps said she’s waiting to see some additional data for 2018 before taking on Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, again. Schandevel got a roar from the crowd when she said, “I’m not a candidate yet, but stay tuned.”