Crowd gathers for Labor Day politics

RALEIGH It seems Tea Party Republicans have stolen the limelight in the fall elections, causing Wake County Democrats to say Monday do not count them out.

An enthusiastic crowd of about 150 gathered at the Elks Lodge in north Raleigh to cheer on their state and local candidates this Labor Day.

Candidates for local judgeships, state legislative seats, and congressional offices were upbeat as they spoke from a podium adorned with red, white and blue stars and a picture of their national party leader - President Barrack Obama.

But with the president's approval ratings down, some acknowledged what political insiders have been saying since Democrats barely passed health care reform - there could be a backlash from opponents.

During the gathering, Congressman Brad Miller didn't mention the Tea Party movement, which seems to be gaining ground, but he said he knows swing voters will be the ones that keep him in office.

"You know who the people are who are kind of wavering - who vote for Democrats sometimes, Republicans sometimes," Miller said. "They need a little persuading. You need to talk to them."

Wake County Democrats also refused to allow Republicans claim to be the party of patriotism.

Meanwhile a newcomer to political activism, Lisa Riviello, says she is frustrated by what she calls the impatience of voters.

"My concern is really that nothing ever gets accomplished," she said. "We're in this cycle of, you know, voting people in and voting people out and it's all about the election and not about change."

So, Riviello says she plans to work hard to try to overcome the perception that Republicans have the election in the bag.

And the former chairman of Wake Democrats and candidate for county commission says it is possible for one main reason.

"The whole issue that's driving a lot of things is really the Wake County Public Schools and all the debate there," Jack Nichols said.

Nichols says much like the Tea Party is the backlash to Democrats and health care reform locally the backlash may be against the new Republican majority on the Wake County school board that has dismantled the diversity policy.

Some say the new board majority's move to neighborhood schools may also help Republicans.

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