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Gantt, Watt will speak at Democratic National Convention

By Tim Funk
tfunk@charlotteobserver.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt, U.S. Rep. Mel Watt and five other prominent N.C. Democrats have joined the list of speakers at next week’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

Also scheduled for podium time, a convention official said Thursday night, are former Gov. Jim Hunt; Lt. Gov. (and Democratic gubernatorial nominee) Walter Dalton; U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan; and U.S. Reps. David Price and G.K. Butterfield.

Add Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and Gov. Bev Perdue, whose speaking slots were announced previously, and the total of host-state speakers is nine.

Missing from the lineup are three “Blue Dog” Democratic congressmen who are not expected at the convention: U.S. Reps. Larry Kissell and Mike McIntyre, who are in the midst of tough re-election battles, and Heath Shuler, who is not running for another term.

Foxx and Gantt have been leaders of the team getting Charlotte ready for the convention and raising the money to pay for it.

All of the convention’s main venues, including Time Warner Cable Arena and Bank of American Stadium, are in Watt’s congressional district.

The inclusion of Dalton could give him national exposure in his race against former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the Republican nominee for governor.

Convention organizers have not yet released a schedule, so it couldn’t be determined Thursday what days and times the N.C. Democrats would speak.

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