Monday, September 3, 2012

Texans grumble about low-rung treatment at Democratic convention - Dallas Morning News

CHARLOTTE, N.C. â€" Texas Democrats arrived in Charlotte vowing to do more to turn the state blue. Because frankly, coming from a solidly Republican state at the Democratic National Convention is a lot like being the red-headed stepchild.

“I can remember when we came as a blue state,” state Sen. Royce West of Dallas told delegates Monday. He said those proud convention attendees were assigned the best seats in the hall, along with the closest and finest hotels.

“They weren’t sitting to the left, behind the camera [stand],” he told delegates. “We were way up front.”

West was speaking at a luncheon reception for the delegation at a bar and grill called Whiskey River â€" because U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, was scheduled but couldn’t make it.

Such is being blue in a red state.

While the Texas Democrats have made their way into Charlotte, that’s not where they’re staying. They’ve been assigned to a hotel in Concord, about a 40-minute bus ride away.

They are sharing their hotel with Montana, a state that has voted for the Republican in nine of the past 10 presidential elections. Ditto for Texas.

“Let this be the last time they put us out in the boonies,” Sen. Jose Rodriguez of El Paso told the delegates.

He and West exhorted the delegates, especially the young ones, to do everything they can to work in local elections and help elect U.S. Senate nominee Paul Sadler, keep the large cities Democratic and pick up legislative races.

“Social media it, if that’s a word, tweet it, Facebook it,” West said.

They asked delegates to work to regain 10 to 15 Texas House seats â€" ambitious and probably double what most observers believe they can flip. But still, even with a glaringly optimistic 15-seat gain, it would still leave the House 87-63 in Republican hands.

“It’s no damn fun being in Austin when you’re outnumbered 2-to-1,” Rep. Lon Burnam of Fort Worth said.

The greater joy of 3-to-2 was not quantified.

Burnam pointed out that in 2010, Texas had the worst voter turnout in the nation. That has to change, he said.

Rodriguez agreed. “This is the last time Texas is sitting in the back, out in the boonies. Texas is going to turn blue,” he said.

At least, the delegates intend to talk themselves blue â€" and hope it spreads.

Follow Christy Hoppe on Twitter at @christyhoppe.

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