Delegates come to Charlotte; urged to volunteer, donate

by: Jeff Smith Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Six separate Uptown venues hosted welcome parties for state delegations Sunday night.

The delegates drank, danced and listened to powerful political speeches. Their message was clear: Win this state for President Barack Obama, and he'll win the general election.

The chairwoman of the Democratic National Convention gave a rousing speech in front of hundreds of delegates at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz urged delegates to volunteer their time and to donate money to help President Obama win.

"I have such pride in my heart, and I know that my fellow delegates have that same pride," said S. C. delegate Susan Smith.

Eyewitness News spoke with delegates from Obama's birth state of Hawaii and his home state of Illinois, who were both beaming with pride.

"It's tremendous, the love here, the atmosphere, it's just very uplifting," said Loretta Giannotti, a delegate from Hawaii.

North Carolina is considered a battleground state. Obama narrowly won the state four years ago and is hoping to recapture once again.

Giannotti said delegates need to use this energy to recruit volunteers.

"It's important for every voter who is a Democrat to get out there in North Carolina and make calls," she said.

Delegate Bob Hagan is from Ohio, a state that's always a must win in the presidential election. He said the fact that North Carolina is up for grabs means the Democrats are making positive strides.

"We've done everything we can to send a clear message that we're representing middle class people," Hagan said.

In total, there are just about 6,000 delegates in town. Many of them were going on tours Sunday to different museums and attractions around town.

Dozens of delegates have already experienced traffic problems ahead of the convention.

A few dozen delegates from Florida didn’t make it to a welcome event in north Charlotte.

The bus that was supposed to pick them up at the Marriot City Center inside the perimeter was delayed so much; the Florida delegation canceled the event.

Some delegates were forced to hire their own transportation.

“If they are not going to show up, they need to get transported somewhere and that is why we are here,” one cab driver said.

The DNC has not said what led to the delay.