Democratic caucuses set for Saturday

Published 6:00 am Friday, February 20, 2004

Lincoln County election officials are prepared for the state’sMarch 9 Democratic presidential primary, but voter interest in theone-race ballot has been nil.

“We’re all set,” said Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Watkins aboutplans for the Tuesday, March 9, contest.

Several of the candidates’ names that appear on the Democraticballot have already dropped out as Sen. John Kerry, ofMassachusetts, moves closer to the party’s nomination. He couldhave it secured by the time the state’s primary happens.

Other Democrats appearing on the state ballot include WesleyClark, Howard Dean, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Lyndon LaRouche,Joe Lieberman and the Rev. Al Sharpton. The party’s nominee willface President George W. Bush in the Nov. 2 general election.

Watkins said absentee ballots for the primary are available inher office. However, no one has come in to vote absentee.

“We’ve had them here a couple of weeks now,” Watkins said.

Watkins said her office will be open Saturdays, Feb. 28 andMarch 6, for absentee voting. She questioned how much voterinterest there will be in the primary.

“I don’t know how much interest there’s going to be in thiselection,” Watkins said. “Hopefully, people will get out andvote.”

As for the general election, Watkins said the presidentialcontest and a few local contests will be the only issues on theballot.

“Nobody’s running against (incumbent Third Dist. U.S. Rep.) ChipPickering on the Democrat or Republican tickets,” Watkins said,adding that there is no U.S. Senate contest this year for thestate.

Among Lincoln County elections, Watkins said electioncommissioners and Educational District Five position on the LincolnCounty School Board are up for re-election.

The education post is held by Brenda Warren while incumbentelection commissioners are John Hightower, Mike Byrne, FloyMcClelland, Charles Smith and Lee Warren. Qualifying for thoseoffices begins later this year and the deadline is Sept. 3.

In other election activity, Democratic leaders are encouraginganyone interested in serving as a delegate to the county andpossibly state conventions to attend party caucuses Saturday.

The precinct-level caucuses will be held 10 a.m. Saturday ateach of Lincoln County’s 32 voting places, said Gerald Williams,Lincoln County Democratic Executive Committee chairman. Delegateschosen at the precincts will go on to the county caucus.

“We need at least one delegate from each precinct, andpreferably a delegate and an alternate,” Williams said.

Delegates and alternates chosen Saturday will go on to thecounty convention on Saturday, March 13, at 10 a.m. at thegovernment complex.

Williams said the party’s executive committee will be chosen atthe county convention and will serve for the next four years.Delegates and alternates will also be chosen to attend thecongressional district and state conventions.

Five delegates and alternates will represent Lincoln County atthe congressional level caucus on Saturday, April 24, in Pearl. Thestate convention will be Saturday, May 29, although a location forthe meeting has not been determined.

The Democratic National Convention will be held July 26-29 inBoston. The party’s nominees for president and vice president willbe election during the national convention.