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'We could sweep North Carolina,' GOP convention chair says

The coronavirus crisis did not stay the Republican Party from its appointed rounds, nor stop the glad-handing, as just under 100 activists turned out Saturday for the annual GOP convention at Apple Valley Middle School.

“There was a lot of last minute cancellations and some concern,” Henderson County GOP Chair Merry Guy told the convention. Because coronavirus-inspired rules have discouraged Raleigh-based state employees from traveling outside the Triangle, Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby, scheduled as the keynote speaker, was unable to make the trip.
“I just want to say, we were monitoring the situation very closely,” Guy said. There were no reported cases of infections west of Charlotte and party officials correctly predicted that restrictions on gathering would be more rigorous as time went on — the Centers for Disease Control guidelines now discourage gatherings of 50 or more people, half the number of 100 that Gov. Roy Cooper advised in an executive order Saturday.
“All of these things considered, we just felt like we would hold our business now,” she said.
The crowd was fine with that, cheering a buffet of red meat campaign rhetoric from the candidates and party leaders. Politicians and supporters defiantly shook hands, eschewing the noncontact recommendation of public health officials.
“In my opinion the Republican ballot we have going into November is extremely strong,” convention Chair Stan Shelley said in opening remarks. “Top to bottom, I think we’ve got some great names. Our ballot is strong and it’s so strong that I hold out some hope that we could sweep North Carolina. I read this week that said it’s the most evenly divided state in the union but I think we’ve got such a strong slate of candidates that we literally could sweep in November. In order to do that, we’ve got to get out the vote. You cannot win big unless you get out the vote.”
He warned against holdover enmity after the runoff for the 11th Congressional District nomination.
“Things like that can tend to divide,” he said. “I’m just begging you. Work hard for your candidate. When it’s all over, we’ve got to get behind whoever wins. Disunity is the enemy of turnout. If the party is not unified, workers don’t work as hard, not as many volunteers volunteer and then all of a sudden you don’t have the turnout.”