Dems descend on Columbus for training
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Dems descend on Columbus for training

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Statewide Democratic Party officials made a stop Thursday in Columbus in order to train people for possible delegate roles at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee.

The party held a Delegate 101 event at the Ramada Hotel and River’s Edge Convention Center to educate people on what it takes to be a delegate at the DNC, while also providing them with resources to become a more active member of the statewide party.

NDP Executive Director Jim Rogers said that the event allowed people to learn a little bit more about what they do, while also getting a first-hand glimpse of the delegate selection process.

“We’ve been doing training across the state on a two-front process,” Rogers said. “One (is) how the party operates and is governed in the state. Two, and this is the big draw for those that are attending, is 'what is the process for becoming a delegate to the national convention?' 'How is the process undertaken?' 'And what (is) the commitment for those looking to go to be a delegate and what that entails?'”

The process for allocating the delegates will be different for Democrats in 2020. In the last three presidential cycles, Nebraska has held a caucus, where members of the party would gather to choose their preference for the party’s nominee.

But, this time around, the party has decided to do something different. It will hold a primary election, to facilitate involvement among both people in the party and those not registered with the party but who want to have a say in who faces President Donald Trump in November.

Unfortunately, registered independents can’t be delegates. They must be registered as a Democrat under Nebraska state law and they must vote in the May 12 primary. After that, they must go through their local county conventions and be elected to represent the county at the state convention in June. From there, they fill out some paperwork, pledge themselves to a specific candidate, and then get elected to the DNC.

If that sounds complicated (and time-consuming), Rogers promises that it isn’t. But for those looking to become more involved without becoming a delegate, the event allowed them the chance to ask questions about being involved in the party, working on behalf of them to support Democrat candidates across the state and in the area.

“They have very genuine and thoughtful questions about ‘How can we get more involved in the process?’ Rogers said. “We give them conduits of contacts that exist in their local area or with us at the office.”

Joining Rogers at the event was Ron Rivera, the NDP’s field and data director. Rivera works with the party’s database of registered Democrats to help people work within their communities to support local Democrats up and down the ballot.

“They can target the Democrats in their local area or their respective counties,” Rivera said. “That way, they can help them attend county conventions or events like this. People can get more involved, come to these events and learn more about the process that we do here.”

Energy has been high for many of the events held across the state as Democrats try to gain more political power from local positions to the Oval Office. Although Columbus is in no way a strong liberal area, Rogers said he hoped that people near and far came down to learn more about getting involved and being a part of picking a potential presidential candidate.

“The biggest takeaway that I’ve had is the amount of participation in the primaries on the Democratic side,” Rogers said. “It’s a testament to how much motivation Democrats have to vote both locally and nationally. We are certainly hopeful to have a good amount of folks who are energized. I think the enthusiasm is out there (and) it’s salient.”

Zach Roth is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at zachary.roth@lee.net.

 

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