The Orange County Republican Convention that was held at Sunrise Church Saturday, kicked off with prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and pastries.
Precinct meetings were held, various Republican candidates running for office made speeches and the OCGOP platform was reviewed. Through all of this was the common theme of being a Republican in Orange County, a majority Democratic area.
“You being a Republican in Orange County, you daily put your reputation on the line, because those around you, without knowing anything about you, will characterize you as hate-filled, they’ll characterize you as bigoted,” said Paul Newby, a candidate for chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court.
Newby said Republican votes matter as much in Orange County as they do in Randolph County and other less liberal areas. He said every vote matters, and cautioned the crowd not to let any kind of divisiveness separate them, as staying together is vital.
“Having people vote in places like Orange County, Durham County determines the outcome of elections,” said Seamus O’Neill, who helps with technology in OCGOP.
He said participation even for minority parties is important, because even if you cannot win a seat on the town council or elect a county commissioner, you can still affect outcomes at the state level.
“The grassroots aspect of both Democratic and Republican party is absolutely essential,” O’Neill said.
Counties across the country are holding conventions for both parties, which O'Neill said builds legitimacy and a sense of connection. He said a top-down structure often leads to a failure of communication and consequences at the ballot box.
Sammy Webb, an attorney running for state auditor, said the issues of the proposed border wall, voter ID and political and racial gerrymandering are prominent and can easily mislead people. He said to let the courts handle those issues, as they will make a decision whether the people support the result or not.