CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Democratic National Convention is over, but Mecklenburg County Republicans want you to know, their party is still around.
“No one is taking North Carolina for granted at this point,” said Gideon Moore, the chairman of the Mecklenburg County Republican Party, or MeckGOP for short.
North Carolina is a toss-up state in 2012, which means polls show the presidential candidates running about even. That’s one reason Democrats chose to put the DNC here, hoping for a convention “bump” that rallied the state’s voters to turn out to vote.
Moore said the convention helped the GOP too.
“It actually made our job from the local party’s perspective a little easier,” said Moore, “Because it allowed us to say, we've got a target on our back, we need help.”
At a GOP election kickoff rally in east Charlotte Saturday, Moore said help would be in the form of money and manpower from state and national parties. He said no one in the GOP wants to see a repeat of the 2008 election, which caught party leaders by surprise when Barack Obama won the state.
Former governor Jim Martin, the state’s last Republican governor, said the win woke the GOP up.
“It took me by surprise!” he said. “We thought things were going very well. To the other side’s credit, they had a big turnout and they swept a lot of things.”
Now the job for both parties is to get voters to the polls for early voting and on Election Day. A lot of money and manpower will be used to keep politics front and center until then.
Moore said even though the DNC brought national attention to Charlotte for Democrats, history is still mostly on the Republicans’ side in North Carolina.
“North Carolina, even though it is a swing state, it's naturally a conservative state, whether folks register Republican, Democrat, or unaffiliated,” said Moore. “And that’s going to work to our advantage.”
And the success of the DNC also has local republicans eyeing another goal – getting the Republican National Convention in 2016. Lobbying is already underway, and if North Carolina is a swing state in 2016, it will only help Charlotte’s chances.
“It does make you proud to have a large event here in Charlotte,” said Moore.