Today was Election Day for the Democratic Party in Kentucky. This blog and others have written several entries about it over the past few weeks. Today's election, theoretically held in each of Kentucky's precincts, began the quadrennial process of democratically rebuilding the Democratic Party from bottom-to-top (in that order). Today's elections were held for the precinct level. In my precinct, L113, which votes at the Phoenix Hill Apartments Complex Clubhouse, the following happened.
First, more than one person showed up. Over the years, I've attended every one of these for my home precinct. This was my eighth Reorganizational Election. At more than one of those, I was the only one present. Today, that was not the case. The second item of news is that in one of the positions, the Committeewoman, an actual election took place where those of us present had to choose between the two women who were nominated for the position. The third item of news is that the incumbent Committeewoman was defeated in her race for re-election, bested by a new activist who had never gone through this before. Finally, we had a 17 year old observer watch the entire proceeding, which I do not know if that is a good or bad thing, but it is an interesting one.
That's the news part. The following is commentary.
Of the eight voters who showed up at L113 (there were nine to start with but one left, plus the 17 year old onlooker), four of them (as well as the 17 year old onlooker) sported Obama stickers. They were there because the Obama campaign sent out notices telling them to be there. I received one of those myself. One person, a neighbor of mine who I just met a few days ago, came as the Obama Precinct Captain for L113, bearing papers which could have been used if the officially-appointed Temporary Chair failed to show, papers which would have been very helpful in such a situation. I do not know if the Clinton campaign made similar efforts. I do know of several Clinton supporters, who on their own, made efforts at getting people involved in this process - I do not know if Senator Clinton's national campaign put the same effort into this as her opponent's did. Paying attention at this lowest level of grassroots organization may be one of the reasons Senator Obama is currently leading the delegate count, albeit not by a decisive margin. It was certainly effective in those non-primary Caucus states in the Midwest, all of which he won, and probably played a role today throughout the state.
In L113, the Temporary Chair, long-time Phoenix Hill activist and businessman Tom Nolan , did show up, and ran the meeting very smoothly. Mr. Nolan was unopposed to be Committeeman, a position he has held for several terms. His wife, Sally Nolan, was opposed by Amy Ellswick for the Committeewoman position, and Amy was eventually elected. My close friend Keith Dickerson, Jr., was unopposed for Committeeyouth, and was thus elected. Mr. Nolan was also elected as the Committeechair for the next four years.
Their role is, in the short term, two fold. The three of them, committeeman, committeewoman, and committeeyouth, are to attend next week's 41st District Convention, which is to be held at the Dosker Manor Building A Lunchroom. There their first responsibility will be to elect a Chair and Vice Chair for the 41st Legislative District, people who will serve on the Louisville-Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee. Only one person filed for each of these positions (incumbent Claudia Riner for Chair and Gordon Studemire (who was the ninth person above who left my precinct meeting early) for Vice Chair), as such they will be elected by acclamation. Their second duty next week will be to elect delegates from the 41st Legislative District to attend the State Convention, to be held in Lexington the first weekend of June.
Each Legislative District in Jefferson and Fayette counties, plus each of the other 118 counties, have been assigned a number of people to represent them at the State Convention. Those people will be elected next week. For me, this is important as these state convention delegates, as well as all the other state convention delegates in the 3rd Congressional District, are the voters who will be eligible at the State Convention to elect the 3rd Congressional District's two Committeemen who serve at the state level. I currently hold one of those seats and hope to be re-elected come June.
As I said, this is a process from bottom-to-top. The first rung, the bottommost at the precinct level, was this morning. And while the process doesn't involve nearly as many people as it should and could, it is an open and democratic process and it is an important and vital part of our political and Political system.
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