CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Georgia Democrats trickled into Charlotte on Monday battling rain, traffic and huge crowds outside the site of the Democratic National Convention.
Buses shuttled dozens of Georgians from a suburban hotel to a series of caucuses in the Charlotte Convention Center, a huge outdoor festival dubbed “CarolinaFest” and a black tie gala at the top of a downtown skyscraper.
Sandra Daniels, a delegate from DeKalb County told Channel 2 Action News that Georgia may appear to vote largely Republican but it’s really a purple state.
“Yes we do know that a lot of people are unhappy with the way things have progressed over the past three and a half years or so, but at the same time, what’s the alternative?” Daniels said.
Daniels said she’s looking forward to the message from her party and she thinks there’s a good plan in place to attract voters.
“I think if they continue to remind people about some of the things the president was able to get done in the few years that he’s been in office,” Daniels said.
Janice Mathews, a District 10 delegate from Athens, told Channel 2, “We all intend to work very hard coming out of this convention to turn Georgia blue. And if we don’t turn it all the way blue, we’re going to make sure we hold on to our congressional seats and make sure people’s voices are heard.”
Mathews said she is very excited to hear from First Lady Michelle Obama, who speaks Tuesday night. “We just want to hear her be upbeat and positive like she always is and remind us why we’re here.”
Michelle Obama, former President Jimmy Carter and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who is the first Latino to deliver a keynote address, will be some of the highlights of Tuesday, the first full day of the convention.
Thousands packed the steamy streets of downtown Charlotte for CarolinaFest on Monday, a Labor Day festival featuring food, musical groups, speakers mixing with vendors and demonstrators.
The festival was stopped for a few hours as heavy rain soaked the city around 4 p.m. Georgians headed to a red carpet gala at the Charlotte City Club hosted by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
A spokesperson said Reed could not make the event because of business in Atlanta … but delegates and many metro Atlanta political leaders enjoyed food and drink at the top of the building overlooking the convention site and the Bank of America Stadium.
Georgia delegates will meet Tuesday morning for a breakfast in their hotel. Speakers expected at the event include Congressman John Lewis, former Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and possibly Jesse Jackson, a party official told Channel 2 Action News.
Stay with Channel 2 Action News and WSBTV.com for continuing coverage of the Democratic National Convention. Channel 2’s Justin Farmer and Lori Geary will report from the convention all week. You can also get live updates on Twitter from @WSBTV and @WSBVOTE.