State Democratic party holds fundraiser

June 16, 2012 8:17:41 PM PDT
Democrats gathered in Raleigh Saturday for the state convention and the annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner.

Vice President Joe Biden's son was the keynote speaker of the fundraising dinner. Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden addressed the crowd at the Raleigh Convention Center downtown.

Congressman Brad Miller also spoke in place of Governor Bev Perdue, who was at home with strep throat.

The event is the first statewide party meeting since Democrats refused to accept Chairman David Parker's resignation last month.

The National Democratic Convention to be held in Charlotte sheds spotlight on the state's Democratic party, while North Carolina will be a battleground state for President Barack Obama in November.

Polls show state races are also feeling the pain. Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory is now ahead of Democratic contender Lt. Governor Walter Dalton. Dalton dismissed the idea that he faces an uphill battle.

Any election is a battle. Whether it's uphil or downhill, it's a battle that we're going to win," Dalton said.

The state's economy is also in the forefront of minds of party leaders. Unemployment numbers released Friday showed North Carolina lost over 16,000 jobs in May.

These hurdles are mounting while the party tries to fend off a lawsuit filed by a former party employee. Adriadn Ortega accused Parker of defamation, saying Parker publicly labeled Ortega a liar and an extortionist after an out of court settlement. The settlement stemmed from allegations of sexual harassment against the party's executive director, Jay Parmley.

While political pundits suggest the Democratic party is ailing, party candidates at Satuday's convention stayed on message.

There's some strong things that we can say and we're gonna continue to push our message and put Republicans on point in those places where they've had a majority and have not been effective in delivering on their promises," Senate candidate Mike Woodard said.

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