Thank you to The Jackson Herald for acknowledging the progress of the Jackson County Democratic Committee.
This effort began in 2007, when a small group of citizens rechartered the local party, which was abandoned in the late 1990s as many conservative Dems made the switch to the Republican party. Their work has continued, and we newcomers are indebted to these folks--many of whom are still active--who took that step.
JCDC was proud to field candidates in local, state, and federal races this cycle. With Jackson County growing and changing while much of our leadership is firmly stuck in the past, choices are important. We recognize that this area is a long-term project, and 2020 was just phase one. You only have to look a few miles to our west to see how quickly former Republican strongholds can become battlegrounds. Meanwhile, as the local iteration of the Republican party screams at the Board of Elections and excludes centrists, we want folks to know that the Democratic party is the local moderate choice, in tune with county issues that matter rather than national conspiracy theories. If you care about smart, managed growth, we are the party for you.
One additional comment before I close: The headline in the paper stated that we fell short of success. No, we did not win any of the contested local races. However, the goal in 2020 was to build the party, learn how to run campaigns, better understand the county and its needs, and support upticket races. Just recruiting solid candidates for local office was a big win. Mr. Mitchem and Mr. Jackson would have been great commissioners, and I have no doubt they will continue to be assets to the area even outside of elected office.
The party statewide tried to field candidates in as many state races as we could, which forced hard conversations and subjected certain candidates to some much-needed scrutiny. With more knowledge and better organization going forward, these races will only get more competitive. We brought out 20,000 more Democratic votes in the 9th district than we saw in 2016. In a presidential race won by 11000 votes, that was a big big factor statewide. Having local candidates talking about local issues brings voters out.
Last January, the party set a goal to improve our local percentages in the presidential race by 5%; if every rural county did this, Democrats would win statewide landslides. We just missed this target, raising those percentages from 16.4% to 20.3%. Biden gained 3,151 additional votes over Clinton’s 2016 total. In a race decided by 11,000 votes, we count this a success. We saw similar gains in the Senate runoff, and will be working in every election to come, as we help build a prosperous, healthy, safe, and diverse Jackson County.
For more information, about the party, please find us on Facebook, Twitter or sign up for information at our website https://www.jcdcga.org
Chairman, Jackson County Democratic Committee