An event at a new business on Merrimon Avenue drew about 100 elected officials, potential campaign volunteers, and the curious to the Bar of Soap last night. The event, put on by Buncombe Young Democrats, was billed as a Job Fair for campaign workers. In this very busy election year, there is concern that some volunteers—desperately needed in smaller local races—will be too distracted by the big state and federal races.
Asheville City Council member Gordon Smith kicked it off, standing in front of the newly re-drawn map of Buncombe County’s districts, “Folks, we have a lot of work to do this year. Some of you all in this room are facing each other in primaries in May, that’s okay, that’s what makes strong candidates,” Smith said. “We just need to harness some of the great volunteer energy we have here in Buncombe County and keep it directed and focused on local races too.”
Karen Ward met Gordon Smith and Drew Reisinger in 2008 while working on the Obama for President campaign. In 2009 she worked with them again on Smith’s City Council campaign. Tonight she was there to sign up to help elect Reisinger as Commissioner of Deeds.
Nearly every announced Democrat candidate for office was in attendance, from State Senators to a candidate for the Soil and Water Commission. Emmet Carney, Buncombe County Democratic Party chair, stood before the map and brought it home to the crowd, “These districts have been re-drawn to divide us, to make us weak and afraid to organize. The Republicans in Raleigh, led by Tim Moffitt have made Buncombe County the only county in North Carolina to have our commissioners elected by State edict and not the way the people of Buncombe County want it. This year, we work on correcting this. Every race is important.” said Carney.