Charleston County Democrats get behind Obama

Charleston County Democrats gathered Saturday to reorganize their precincts.

Charleston County's Democrats declared their support for President Barack Obama on Saturday at the party's primary elections and precinct reorganization meetings.

Berkeley and Dorchester counties' precinct meetings are slated for March 3.

Charleston County attendees were registered voters who did not participate in the Republican primary Jan. 21.

Many are contending for a spot at the party's upcoming state and national conventions. Attendance at precinct meetings is required for eligibility.

However, the time spent reorganizing and selecting precinct officials ultimately sets the foundation for what Democrats hope will be a successful campaign.

This year, Democrats hope to re- create the energy that swayed Charleston in 2008 and the national energy that pushed Obama to the presidency.

"(Obama) isn't going to win unless people go out and vote," Johanna Martin-Carrington, executive director of the Jenkins Institute, said while meeting in North Charleston at the Felix Pinckney Community Center.

Attorney Akim Anastapoulo and former state Rep. Robert Barber spoke to rally party members before they head out into the trenches to campaign over the next several months.

"Young Democrats in college and law school here are organizing this city and organizing this state. It's a new day, and it's an exciting day. We have new faces. We have new ideas. We have new leadership, and it's just a great time to be a Democrat," Anastapoulo said during a speech to meeting attendees at Burke High School.

Democrats are aware of the hurdles that could slow down their building momentum: Apprehension due to voter ID laws; the accusations of gerrymandering, or packing black voters into fewer districts to reduce their influence on the election; and the economy's effects on voters' motivations were a few issues raised at area meetings.

Sussan Chavis, president of the James Island/Folly Beach Democrats, said educating voters will help the party counteract those setbacks and any attacks from the opposing side.

"The Republican Party is throwing out so much trash. We're making sure that people can filter through that trash to see the truth of the matter," Chavis said.