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Oconee Democrats Select National Delegates at State Democratic Party Convention

posted May 16, 2016, 3:11 PM by Ocdp Web

Twenty-two delegates elected at the Oconee County Democratic Convention on March 19th, along with more than 1000 others from all 46 counties,  took part last Saturday in the State Democratic Convention in Columbia.  Among them were several first time convention delegates, including Jamie Plummer and Jonathan Franklin, founder and president of the West Oak High School Young Democrats.

The one-day session was devoted almost entirely to five rounds of elections to select delegates to the National Convention in Philadelphia  next July. In each round, delegate4s committed to Hillary Clinton and those committed to Bernie Sanders each met to determine who would represent the at the National meeting. Each Congressional District was entitled to a number of delegates depending on the Democratic voters in that district. The 3rd Congressional District, which Oconee, Pickens, Anderson and a number of other counties along the western edge of South Carolina, has three delegates. They in turn were allocated between Hillary (2) and Bernie (1) based on the primary election results. 

                Former Oconee Party Chair Maxie Duke of Walhalla and Claudia Gail Johnson, current 1st Vice-Chair, were both ran in a large field of 7 candidates seeking to become  Clinton delegates.  Although neither one was elected, both had an opportunity to make brief statements explaining their reasons for seeking the post. Ultimately 26 Clinton delegates were selected and 7 for Sanders from the 7 Congressional Districts.


With the Congressional District delegates selected, those remaining candidates who held an office in the state or county parties or were elected officials competed for what were called PLEO or "superdelegates".  Five of these were pledged to support Clinton and two for Sanders.

In a third round dlelgates voted for At-Large delegates to fill 8 places for Clinton and 3 for Sanders. Once that was done, 3 alternate At-Large Delegates were chosen (2 Clinton and 1 Sanders) to replace a regular delegate if necessary. Finally, three prominent party members were elected to serve on the Democratic National Committee: Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter was re-elected to the position she has held recently, Clay Middleton and former State Chair Carol Fowler were chosen to fill out the slate.

While the actual voting went very quickly in most instances, it took all a very long time to determine the winners, because National and State party rules stipulate that delegations must have relatively equal numbers of males and females and that there be representation from a range of racial, ethnic, and cultural groups so that many points of view are represented and many voices are heard.  Party Executive Director, Jason Perkey announced the winners by email on Sunday.

Other business at the Convention involved some minor changes in the State By-laws to bring them into agreement with the National Democratic Party rules. In between the various rounds of elections, the delegates heard a rousing speech from U.S. Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez; a video tribute was presented honoring those democrats who had died during the past year, including those killed at Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston. State Party Chair Jaime Harrison also presented a number of awards to celebrate democratic party leaders, including one to the small county Party of the Year, that went to the Pickens County Democratic Party, which has been reorganized and revitalized during the past twelve months.

Alongside the formal business of the Convention, there were many opportunities to meet and greet old friends and acquaintances including Congressman Jim Clyburn, former governor Dick Riley, former party and DNC Chair Don Fowler, representative Walt McLeod from Newberry, former Mayor Bob Coble of Columbia and DNC Member, Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, who will be the guest of honor on June 12 at the Oconee Democratic Party Annual Picnic at South Cove Park.