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Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson and Boone Town Councilman Andy Ball are seated with other North Carolina delegates at the Time Warner Cable Arena as part of Tuesday's convention proceedings.
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Originally published: 2012-09-04 12:13:21
Last modified: 2012-09-05 11:11:37

Locals: High energy, optimism at DNC

by Anna Oakes

Local elected officials were gushing with optimism and enthusiasm during a report to the Watauga Democrat from the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday.

"It's just been an incredible experience so far," said Andy Ball, a Boone Town Council member and one of two convention delegates from Watauga County. "We're welcoming folks to the state."

Also representing North Carolina as a delegate at the convention is Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson.

"The energy is incredible. I think we're going to win North Carolina," Clawson said, referring to President Barack Obama's campaign for re-election.

Ball echoed Clawson's sentiments, noting they have heard from a number of political analysts -- including CNN's James Carville and NBC's Chuck Todd -- about the possibility of the state going blue once again in 2012.

"We're discussing North Carolina and Virginia, and other places like that are in play. "I think we're in really, really good shape at 60 days out," he said.

Former state legislator and Democratic N.C. House of Representatives candidate Cullie Tarleton joined Ball and Clawson at the North Carolina delegates' breakfast on Tuesday, where women's issues were the main topic. Delegates heard from Gov. Bev Perdue, N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Donna Brazile, DNC vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation.

"I think the women's issues and addressing that has been one of the most important things to me. We need to get the women out (to vote)," said Clawson, who is sharing a hotel room with Watauga Democratic Party Chairwoman Diane Tilson.

Ball, who represents the Young Democrats of North Carolina on the N.C. Democratic Party State Executive Council and is serving a second term as a Young Democrats national committeeman, said he is excited to be a part of the largest youth delegation in the state's history.

Surpassing its goal of 19 delegates under age 36, the Young Democrats of North Carolina succeeded in getting 32 delegates under 36 elected to this year's DNC delegation -- that's up from four in 2008, Ball said. North Carolina sent 158 delegates to the DNC this year.

"It's certainly having an effect on the energy," Ball said. "It's just been a fantastic experience for me as a young leader in the state party."

Both Clawson and Ball commended the city of Charlotte for a smooth-operating event.

"There's been very little delays or any kind of issues at all," said Ball.

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