With the health care debate entering a key phase in Congress, both sides are turning up their grassroots lobbying efforts in North Carolina.
An arm of the Democratic National Committee has been holding grassroots meetings across the state, seeking to mobilize the army of supporters that helped President Barack Obama carry the state last November. Meanwhile, conservative opponents of Obama’s health care plan is beginning to organize, reports Rob Christensen.
The North Carolina Chapter of Americans for Prosperity is planning to hold two rallies next week to oppose what they call "harmful government-centered health care reform proposals in Congress" and to demand free-market solutions.
The featured speakers are Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the GOP nominee for governor last year and possible future candidate, as well as Steve Lonegan, who lost the Republican nomination for governor of New Jersey earlier this year.
Lonegan, a former mayor of Bogota, New Jersey, is a conservative activist who heads the New Jersey chapter of Americans for Prosperity.
The "Patients First Tour" will hold a rally on July 21 at the RBC Center in Raleigh with a reception at 6:15 p.m. and a dinner at 7 p.m. On July 22, the group will hold an event at the Jesse Helms Center at Wingate.
But just as in last year’s presidential campaign, conservatives appear to be playing catch up to the better organized Obama forces.
More after the jump.
The timing here is important. The president has said he hopes the Senate and the House will each pass his health care plan before the Congressional August recess.
The Democrats kicked off their organizing effort on June 6 with health care parties across the country, including a number in North Carolina.
The Democrats have been holding a "listening tour" with a heavy focus on health care in Durham and Asheville last week. On Monday night, there were 132 people at an event at St. Matthews AME Church in Raleigh, according to organizers.
An event is scheduled Thursday night at the Teamsters Union Hall in Charlotte and next Monday in Chapel Hill, at a location to be announced later.
Next week, the Democrats are planning a major health care lobbying effort in North Carolina involving phone banks and canvassing, according to Joanne Peters, a DNC spokeswoman.