By Laura Haight
GCDP Communications Coordinator
Not too long ago, a woman called the GCDP headquarters and left a message for me. She wanted to know what she had to sign up for, how much it would cost, or who she had to know to get a reasonable heads up about visits from presidential candidates.
I sympathize with her frustration and we had a productive conversation.
I am new to the organizing side of politics. Having spent my life in journalism, I’ve been more on the issues side of political contests. Also as a journalist, despite being pretty wonky, there’s no way you can volunteer or work with a party or a campaign. So, my back-office education really began in the spring of 2017.
Like most of the uninitiated, I believed that “the party” had a far more centrally organized role in candidates’ activities. The truth is that’s far from the reality.
For the past year, because of our status as one of the first states with a presidential primary, coupled with our diversity, Greenville has had a steady influx of candidates seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination.
In some cases, we’ve had a week’s notice (Sen. Warren in February) in others, barely a couple of days (Sen. Klobuchar just a week later). Recently, GCDP Chair Kate Franch had maybe a week’s notice that Julian Castro would be coming to Greenville, but no definitive date or logistic info until the Wednesday morning prior to a Sunday visit.
Sometimes, we don’t know at all. On a recent Monday morning, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was the speaker at a breakfast sponsored by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. The first we heard of it was by reading Facebook posts. (Sure, we are reaching out to the chamber to see if we can get and give a heads up when our interests intersect).
Some may think it’s a good idea to send out what info we have even if it’s not definitively verified. We see that as counter productive. What if a location or time changes just a day or two ahead of time – a situation not all that unusual? Those people who missed the follow up email or social media posts would be at the wrong place, at the wrong time, miss the person they really wanted to see and it would be – justifiably – the GCDP’s fault.
Knowing how fluid arrangements can be, we err on the side of accuracy. That’s all by way of explaining why we aren’t always able to give you a lot of lead time.
As soon as we do know, however, we will send out an email blast to all our subscribers (you can become one by signing up on the home page of www.greenvilledemocrats.com), post on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
If we are organizing the event, as in the case of some of our breakfast speakers, we will ask you to register. Most all of the campaigns also request that you register. Although this is often not required (rarely are you going to get turned away), it is an excellent idea enabling you to be kept informed of any last minute changes to the schedule that might occur. And that does happen!
Things will be heating up as the campaign season has moved into full swing and we’ll expect to have many more visits from presidential candidates. We will do everything we can to let Greenville Dems know as early as possible events are scheduled.