Future after Watt for Democrats

May. 16, 2013 @ 09:20 PM

Usually a political party gathering in an off year from a major election wouldn’t draw much attention, but this year’s 12th Congressional District Democratic Party convention takes place during anything but a normal time.
Democrats from the district that stretches from Charlotte through the central Piedmont to High Point and other parts of the Triad will gather in Greensboro Saturday for the 12th District convention. It probably will be the last time that Rep. Mel Watt, D-12th, addresses Democrats at a district gathering.
Watt, who’s served for 21 years, plans to give up his seat to become the new head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. President Barack Obama nominated Watt for the post at the first of this month. 
If Watt is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, a special election would be held to fill the Democratic-leaning seat that Watt has won comfortably in every election. Watt is expected to go through the confirmation process later this summer. The date for the special election wouldn’t be set until Watt is confirmed and takes the federal agency post.
Candidates who want to succeed Watt, including state Rep. Marcus Brandon of High Point, are expected to attend the 12th District convention to meet and greet with fellow Democrats. The meeting is open to the general public, though only delegates will be allowed to vote on party matters, said a spokeswoman with the Guilford County Democratic Party.
Brandon, D-Guilford, earlier this month filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission to create the Marcus Brandon for Congress political committee, the first formal step needed to raise money for a campaign.
“I’m assume that anyone considering running (in the special election) will be there,” Brandon told The High Point Enterprise. “I’ll be there getting to know folks and get my name out there.”
State Rep. Alma Adams, D-Guilford, said that she plans to attend the convention. The longtime legislator from Greensboro said she definitely will run for the 12th District if Watt is confirmed for his new post.
The 12th District convention begins at 10 a.m. at the county Democratic Party headquarters, 2300 W. Meadowview Road, suite 110. Watt is scheduled to speak at the gathering Saturday morning, a spokesman for the congressman told the Enterprise.

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Possible Democratic candidates for 12th Congressional District special election

•  State Rep. Alma Adams, D-Guilford, longtime legislator from Greensboro
•  Bruce Davis, veteran Guilford County Board of Commissioners member from High Point
•  State Rep. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford, two-term legislator from High Point
•  State Sen. Malcolm Graham, D-Mecklenburg, former Charlotte City Council member
•  State Rep. Ed Hanes, D-Forsyth, first-term legislator from Winston-Salem
•  State Rep. Rodney Moore, D-Mecklenburg, second-term legislator from Charlotte
Sources: The High Point Enterprise, The Charlotte Observer