Trouble for Dems in North Carolina as convention moves into full swing
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The main drag through downtown Charlotte looked a bit like Times Square on Sunday night, as revelers and out-of-towners converged to gawk at the flashing city around them.
The electric scene before the start of the Democratic National Convention belies the trouble under the surface.
For Democrats, North Carolina was an awkward choice and represents some of the challenges President Obama faces this Election Day.
Unemployment here is at 9.6 percent, well above the national average. The governor of the state, Democrat Bev Perdue, was rated as the least popular governor in the country in a recent survey and does not plan to seek re-election.
The state's laws also run counter to Democrats' publicly held positions. It is a right-to-work state, meaning workers cannot be forced to pay union dues -- and meaning unions weren't too thrilled about the decision to host the convention here. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a memo last month that the union "won't be buying skyboxes or bringing a big staff to the convention," and other big labor groups have declined to contribute to the cost of the convention, after doing so in 2008.
But the economy in North Carolina, among other states, is sure to weigh on Obama's re-election bid.
Mike Rash, a local realtor who had to close his company's doors about a year and a half ago, told Fox News he "drank the Kool-Aid" in 2008 and voted for Obama. He quipped that he'll be drinking "from a different pitcher" this year, supporting Rommey.
"The promises that were made four years ago certainly haven't been met," Rash said.
North Carolina GOP spokesman Rob Lockwood told FoxNews.com the Democrats "are in a lot of trouble in North Carolina," though he thanked the party for bringing their business to town.
"They brag about having never left and having kept their campaign apparatus intact. But they have lost 116,000 voters since 2008," he said.