The South Carolina Democratic Convention was held this past weekend and while potential candidates had an opportunity to be seen answering the question of who might seek the party’s nomination in the upcoming elections, electing party officials was the main topic on the agenda.
Chairwoman Carol Fowler was re-elected to chair for her second term. Rising star, Bakari Sellers was elected to first vice chairman while Chairman of the Greenville County Democratic Party, Kevin Mertens, was elected as second vice chairman. Clemson student Jamarr Brown was elected to third vice chairman, a position reserved for individuals under the age of 30.
Mertens said the party is positioning itself for a run at the Governor’s Mansion. “I do think we have a great shot at winning this year,” according to Mertens. “Especially with having the second-highest unemployment in the country. Jobs, infrastructure, and the way our schools are so we have the highest unemployment and we’re at the bottom in schools. There has got to be a correlation between that.
“So yes, we have got a lot we have been working on.”
Mertens says he is confident that voters will see his party as the party fighting for the people of South Carolina saying, “we’ve been; fighting for public education, fighting for jobs, fighting for better roads and bridges, fighting for health care. And the other side has, more or less, been worried about putting amendments on the ballots for divisive issues. So I think, eventually, people will see that we are really trying to work hard and accomplish things.”
Two possible contenders for the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in the upcoming election were on hand giving them an opportunity to work the crowd. Senator Vincent Sheehan of Kershaw and Mullins McLeod, a Charleston attorney both made their presence felt. Mertens was quick to point that they are still potential candidates until it is made official.
“At least two of the potential candidates fr governor were there working the crowd. Senator Vincent Sheehen and Mullin McLeod of Charleston were there but I call it potential because, until people file next year, we really don’t have any candidates yet.”
The S.C. Progressive Voter Coalition also made their voices heard encouraging Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter of Orangeburg to run for governor. “She says she is not interested,” said Mertens, “The Progressive Caucus is who is demonstrating with signs on her behalf.
“She is definitely a hero to the Progressive Caucus and she is a hero to many of us but she has been active in the Progressive Caucus and they were certainly encouraging her. Unfortunately, she had to be out of town on business so she wasn’t there.”
Hundreds of signs reading, “Run, Gilda, Run”, were passed out at the door.