Local Democrats are confident that voters will see things their way in November. At the Cape Girardeau County Democrat Central Committee's annual Fall Festival on Saturday, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan bolstered that confidence.
Carnahan was the keynote speaker at the event, held on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University. In a speech that garnered a standing ovation, Carnahan ripped state and national Republicans on everything from a new Missouri law requiring voters to show a state voter ID before casting a ballot to oil company profits to the proposed sale of MOHELA assets.
"I think they're scared," Carnahan said of Republicans. "I think they're scared because people who are paying attention are fed up -- they've had enough. And if they're not fed up, they're not paying attention."
Carnahan accused Republicans of passing the voter ID law to disenfranchise 5 percent of Missouri voters who don't have a state photo ID -- many of whom might vote Democrat.
A judge recently declared the requirement unconstitutional, though an appeal is expected.
Carnahan said Gov. Matt Blunt's MOHELA plan to fund university construction short-changes students by reducing money available to forgive loans. She stressed the importance of voting to allow stem-cell research in Missouri. She railed against the static minimum wage. She questioned why gas prices have fallen so dramatically so close to an election, implying oil executives are trying to help Republicans retain majorities in Congress.
"The oil company executives know who's on their side," she said.
All Democrats need to do to win in this off-year, she said, is tell the truth. "We need to be witnesses," Carnahan said.
Local Democratic candidates expressed the same fed-up furor over Republican governance as Carnahan. House candidates like Larry Tetley in the 160th District and Boyce Wooley in the 159th District stressed their conservative moral values and their commitment to helping working families.
"I, and other Democrats such as I, are firmly conservative and have the same traditional moral and family values as the rest of outstate Missouri," Wooley said.
Matt Hill, Democratic candidate for the 158th District, accused Republicans in the state legislature of "turning politics into a game -- a game of holding the most toys and not doing what's right, and they've done it at the expense of the workaday citizens, and I've had enough."
County committee chairwoman Brenda Woemmel said the event, which raises money and morale for Democratic candidates at county and state levels, was one of the best-supported festivals in several years. More than 200 people from all over Southeast Missouri showed up at the event, she said.
With an election a little over a month away, Woemmel said the Fall Festival will help kick a party that is already motivated to reclaim power into "higher gear."
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