Politics & Government

Burgess' goal: Charlotte in '12

Could the Democratic convention come to Charlotte in four years?

It will if Susan Burgess has anything to say about it. Burgess, Charlotte's mayor pro tem, is a member of the Democratic National Committee. She wants to push for the next convention to be held in the Queen City.

A few years ago, local Republicans talked about hosting their convention in the city, but Charlotte didn't make the cut.

“It's because we didn't have the hotels,” Burgess said.

In recent years, hotels have gone up, a rail line has opened and uptown has a new arena.

By 2012, there not only will be more hotels but more uptown museums and attractions, Burgess said, adding that the economic impact of a convention is “tremendous.”

Both parties are expected to take proposals in 2010 for their next conventions.

Jim Morrill

Legislators join jet set

State House Speaker Joe Hackney was to catch the red-eye flight back to Raleigh early this morning in time for today's special session of the legislature.

But Hackney, an Orange County Democrat, said he plans to return tonight so he can catch Barack Obama's acceptance speech on Thursday.

Other Democratic lawmakers were also planning to return to Raleigh for the special session, which has been called to consider whether to override Gov. Mike Easley's veto of a bill relaxing the size of boats that can be transported on state roads. Rob Christensen

Easley finally attends

Easley is attending his first Democratic National Convention.

Easley, accompanied by First Lady Mary Easley, sat with the N.C. delegation in their nosebleed seats in the Pepsi Center.

Although he has no formal speaking role at the convention, Easley said he has been asked to speak to several state delegations and other groups.

The two-term N.C. governor is famously allergic to political events. He said he did not attend before because he had always been a candidate for state offices at the time.

“I've not always been on the same page” as the Democratic candidate, he said. Rob Christensen

Advice: Don't emphasize race

All seven Democratic congressmen representing North Carolina showed up Tuesday for a delegation breakfast at the convention.

Reps. Mel Watt of Charlotte and G. K. Butterfield of Wilson urged delegates not to emphasize race in the presidential campaign despite the historic nature of Obama's candidacy. Both said other issues are more important, such as the economy, the Iraq war and the growing federal budget deficit.

“Don't let the media here or back home let you get trapped in the race question,” Butterfield said. Rob Christensen

Absent but not forgotten

Kay Hagan and Bev Perdue didn't make it out to Denver, but their campaigns were chatted up at a fundraiser for EMILY's List, a group that supports Democratic female candidates.

R. Bruce Thompson II a delegate from Raleigh, paid so much to attend the Tuesday fundraiser that he didn't want to give the figure because his wife didn't know how much it cost him.

(Hint to Mrs. Thompson: It was at a “sponsorship” level, and more than $50.)

Hagan, who is running for U.S. Senate, and Perdue, who is running for governor, are on the group's list of “rising stars.”

“It's kind of nice to be from North Carolina when they're talking about all these North Carolinians,” said Thompson, who is attending his first convention as a delegate. Rob Christensen