My Experience at a Democratic Fundraiser

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This past summer, I started working at an E-commerce company called Murphy’s Naturals. They are located near the Loading Dock coworking space, where I met some amazing people.

Patrick Buffkin – a lawyer, city council member, and my friend – was working there. He is a member of the Democratic Party just like me, and we had long conversations about rural strategy, engaging younger people, and the upcoming election.

Later in the summer, I also met Congresswoman Deborah Ross. She is a Democrat and represents NC-2 (Our district). I was impressed and amazed that a member of the House of Representatives who serves a seat that their party won by 30 in the last election would even still campaign.

Yet there she was, talking about labor issues in my warehouse, and going to coworking spaces to talk about women’s rights. I always liked Congresswoman Ross, but her willingness to campaign and to be the Democrat setting foot in a warehouse again made me smile as I realized she’s a superior candidate than most incumbent Democrats.

Buffkin decided to invite me to a Monday fundraiser at Trophy Pizza for Jeff Jackson, a state senator from Charlotte now running for NC 14, located in suburban Charlotte. I really appreciate the offer to mingle with Raleigh’s Democratic Establishment and its most prominent activists, so I immediately responded yes.

I did not have to donate to the campaign as I was a personal guest, but I have lots of confidence in Jackson, as well as the fact that Biden won the district by 16 percentage points, making it the most flippable seat in the South. I decided to donate some money to the campaign anyways, and on Monday night I was dressed up and ready to go. 

I was one of the first few people to arrive. Council Member Buffkin was there along with David Knight and one of his other colleagues on the city council. I spoke to them about the intersection of Country Trail and Pinecrest, and how there is no crosswalk or traffic light, and I exchanged information with the members, and they said they will investigate and see if they can get the necessary funding. 

After this, Congresswoman Ross showed up. Despite me last seeing her two months ago, she recognized me almost immediately, and she invited me to walk with her and get some of the Pizza. We walked over to the table where Trophy had provided pizza and talked about the importance of the Democratic Party winning back the elderly vote, and when I told her that my grandmother (who is now a Republican) was splitting her ticket for Ross, Ross beamed and thanked me for winning her back over. 

Ross and Jackson started up the event. Ross reminded us of the fact that the Democratic majority in the House is the narrowest in decades, and that with the narrowest majorities in the 21st Century have gotten more done than Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society in the 1960s. 

Jackson then took the stage. He said that his opponent does not live in the district he’s running in, apparently a legal problem in North Carolina. He talked about how both he and Cheri Beasley (the senate candidate) have both sworn off Super PACS, or dark money, in order to show progressivism and transparency. Then he opened it up for questions.

This is where I really shined. I asked him what he plans to do with the Kyrsten Sinema’s and Joe Manchin’s of the world. I said that those people no longer had their hearts in the Democratic cause, but that we still need them. 

There were nods of agreement, as everyone’s face hardened at the mention of Sinema. They didn’t seem to mind Manchin. I don’t think he’s any Democrat’s favorite senator, but since he is from West Virginia, one of the Trumpiest states, he gets a pass. Sinema advocated for a 60-Vote threshold for all appointments and judges, and Mitch McConnell called her “The most effective first-term senator of my career.”  Ouch. McConnell has been in office for 37 years, and the Democrat who broke their winning streak in Arizona and refused to use a Bible for her swearing-in is Mitch’s favorite. Good to know. 

Then we talked about youthful engagement. Jackson uses TikTok to campaign and reach college students, calling Facebook campaigns “irrelevant.” He mentioned internal polls. He is supposedly up by 7-8 points but because of the partisan lean of the district, I personally believe that he will win by up to 14 points. 

We split off into groups after the event, all talking about various things: The mistakes of the past, the promise of the future, and what’s happening in the now. I met numerous activists, and I met some citywide officials and most of them said they see me being in Congress. One of them even asked me to canvas and door knock for him. Many were appreciative of a fresh face interested in politics.

Overall, this was an amazing experience. I would definitely go to another event like this again. Every person there was intelligent and at some level of politics, and all were friendly and welcoming to me even though I’m relatively new to politics (four years vs forty for some of them).

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