State convention wrap up

2008 Democratic State ConventionSupposedly the big news out of last weekend’s Democratic Party of Virginia Convention was Mark Warner’s unqualified statement that he’s out of the race for VP. I didn’t consider it news; after all, he said essentially that on a press conference call last Monday. Either the press at the convention didn’t hear it or they weren’t on the call 😉

I managed to get a few minutes with Senator Jim Webb prior to his speech and asked him the same question. Unless I completely misunderstood him, Webb also said that he wasn’t interested in being VP. (I did ask twice, by the way.) Unfortunately, I didn’t get his exact words.

I went to the convention with one thing in mind: getting elected as an at-large delegate to the convention. As the result, I didn’t spend a whole lot of time inside listening to the speeches. I’m told that most of the speeches were quite good; in particular, several people commented on how well 2nd District candidate Glenn Nye spoke. The convention itself was long – way too long in my humble opinion. And, believe it or not, there was no lunch break! Folks literally had to miss parts of the speeches in order to grab a bite to eat. With all of the facilities around the Hampton Convention Center (located adjacent to the Hampton Coliseum), it was a shame that the only alternative was an overpriced ($15!) lunch in the room next to the exhibit hall.

The convention kicked off a little after 10am and it wasn’t until nearly 4pm that we broke up into our separate – Clinton and Obama – caucuses to elect our PLEO (which stands for Party Leaders and Elected Officials) and at-large delegates. Nearly six hours – and the real work was yet to be done. Several people that I saw earlier in the day had left by that time, which was a real shame.

Because the caucus voting took so long (I understand the Obama caucus tallying took about 4 hours), we never did come back together as a group. Another disappointment.

While we were in our caucus, it became quite clear that with the large number of first-time attendees, it would have been useful to have had some things explained. For example, people seemed to not understand the situation with the slate and how the slate had been chosen. What was happening around me was people were asking that question as we were voting. My guess is that part of this had to do with timing – the deadline for filing the slate was Wednesday at 5pm, leaving little time for the information to be public or for others to organize a competing slate. The members of the DNC slate sent out a couple of emails with the bios and photos of each member, but even those came late last week. I’d like to see the deadline for filing slates moved up a bit, giving not only the slate members time to campaign, but also giving others who are not on the slate the same opportunity. I don’t recall exactly when the list of delegates to the convention made it to the DPVA website but I know that I only received a couple of emails from folks who were running who were not on the slate.

I will say that tensions were running a little high by the time we got to the caucuses and I attribute a lot of this to the six hours of stuff that took place before. I got a chance to talk to DPVA executive director Levar Stoney about this while waiting for the caucus results. As it turns out, Levar never made it to bed Friday night, so I doubt if he remembers anything I said to him. Here’s what I told him that I think would make the convention more enjoyable for newcomers and old timers alike.

First, take the first couple of hours of the convention to do a little business and hear a few speeches. Then break for lunch for an hour. After that, convene the caucuses. After the voting is complete, reconvene the entire convention for more speeches. This would also be the time to elect the DNC members and the electors. While those are taking place, count the votes. Once the counting is completed, announce the results, have a final unifying speech, and then let the partying begin. If it can’t be done in a single day, start Friday evening with some of the procedural stuff.

Oh yeah – and get a better sound system 😉

I know the DPVA staff worked very hard to make this convention as enjoyable as possible. It was a difficult task and my hat’s off to them for having gotten it done. It was good to see a lot of folks from around the state – I’m not about to start naming them because I’ll no doubt leave somebody off the list. Congrats to all who were elected yesterday, condolences to those who didn’t make it this time.


For blow-by-blow accounts of the convention, check out Bearing Drift [1, 2, 3] and Blueweeds. Also, AIAW was there and posted her thoughts.


25 thoughts on “State convention wrap up

  1. by the way Vivian … the DPVA missed the mark when they did not have you designated as the official site and blogger for the convention … I know you would have done an awesome job making certain everything got coverage … talk about a missed communication opportunity for our canididates and our party

  2. The DPVA didn’t have anything to do with the selection of the official state blogger. That was done by the Dem. National Convention Committee. (See here.) But you can count on me blogging at the convention – after all, I don’t have to be embedded with the delegation because I’m a part of the delegation 😀

  3. Vivian, In your excitement you’ve moved your mind to Denver … I thought the DPVA missed a great opportunity when you, a well known Hampton area blogger could have been used to cover this past weekend’s convention … in your backyard …

    Now to Denver! I’m looking forward to reading your accounts!

  4. Ah – I see 😉 Yes, I was thinking of Denver and the ongoing saga surrounding the official blogger. Truth is that I was too busy campaigning to get to Denver to have time to blog the state convention.

  5. Isn’t “official blogger” sort of an oxymoron? Isn’t the whole POINT of being a blogger that you are not just an official mouthpiece?

  6. Mouse, a few bloggers upstate realized that you can’t make a dime as an unofficial blogger, so they sort of took it upon themselves to “redefine” that.

  7. I used the wrong term. The DNCC credentialled ~50 state blogs plus another 150 or so for the convention. The state blogs are to be seated on the convention floor with the state delegation.

    As for money – well, that’s not why I blog.

  8. Well, you may see Google ads on my blog but rest assured, I’m not getting anything from them. Ads are not allowed at (my blog host) but they do run them on some blogs here. I’m not particularly happy that has those ads but hey – I like the price of the hosting 🙂

    I will say, though, that not being able to post ads or sponsorships here was part of the reason I chose When you see an endorsement from me, at least you know I wasn’t bought and paid for.

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