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Democrats hope to build momentum

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By Nathan L. McBroom

As the race for the Democratic presidential nomination drags on, the Shelby County Democratic Party is hoping political interest at the national level will translate to local involvement at their upcoming county convention.

On April 5 the party will hold precinct conventions across the county in order to elect 99 precinct officers.

From each of the county's 33 precincts, party members will nominate a man, a woman and young adult officer to represent their precinct the following week at the county convention. Party members will convene at the polling place in their precinct.

County party chairman, Nathan Riggs, said he is hoping the county convention on April 12 will energize and provide direction for the local party.

During the county convention, officers will elect the 20-member executive committee that will give oversight to the local party. They will also elect a chairman and fill the other offices of the party.

Riggs will be running for his second term as chair.

"If they'll have me back, I'll do it," he said.

At that time the party, which holds a county convention every four years, will also select representatives to the Kentucky Democratic regional convention.

At the regional convention, delegates help direct the party's policy and will elect representatives to state convention.

At the state convention, delegates will select the central executive committee for the party, set formal policy, and elect delegates to the national convention.

The district that Shelby County is in will send 5 delegates and 1 alternate to the national convention.

Riggs said the delegates that are sent to the national convention are especially significant this year.

"With how close the presidential is going to be, it's more than likely that the delegates are going to be the ones that decide the race," he said.

Riggs said two local Democrats have filled out paper work in order to be a national delegate.

He said support for U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama is really close among Democrats in Shelby County.

Riggs said the biggest issue right now, locally and nationally, is the economy.

He said with only one Republican running in the Shelbyville city council race, the most important local match up for Democrats is their candidate, Bill Young, running against state Rep. Brad Montell for the local state representative.

Currently, out of the 25,392 registered voters in the county, the majority are registered Democrats. According to Sue Carol Perry, county clerk, there are 14,724 registered Democrat and 8,978 Republicans and 1,690 "others."

Democrats and Republicans grew at about the same rate last year with Democrats seeing a gain of 331 registered voters and Republicans getting an additional 346.