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Democratic State Dinner becomes rallying call for upcoming elections

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks at the Ohio Democratic Party State Dinner at the Greater Columbus Convention Center on Oct. 7. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo Editor

Less than a day after the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court, Ohio Democrats came together for the 2018 Ohio Democratic Party State Dinner at the Greater Columbus Convention Center on Sunday.

Nearly 1,000 people gathered to hear Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., join the party’s statewide ticket and other Ohio politicians in rallying for the coming elections.

Activist and poet Honey Bell-Bey opened the event with a call to action: “Walk with me, Ohio … Blue votes matter.”

The dinner marked 30 days until the midterm elections, and the Democratic Party has been making several pushes to reverse the past two years of Republicans majorities in both state and federal governments.

“We have the chance, 30 days from now, to hold people accountable and to start fighting for people again: fighting for our values, fighting for health care, fighting for jobs, fighting for kids in good schools,” said David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.

“Let’s speak that truth so we can deal with it. Let’s speak the truth that in America today the American Dream is out of touch for so many of us.” —Kamala Harris, United States Senator D-Calif.

An emphasis on women’s issues was prevalent throughout the evening in light of the Kavanaugh confirmation, which was seen by Democrats as a rejection of women’s rights by the Senate and Trump administration.

“The events of the last two days have put in stark relief how critical it is that women’s voices be heard, and that women be at the table,” Pepper said.

Harris followed a series of several Ohio candidates speaking on their platforms, stressing the need for realism and honesty in American politics and society.

Sen. Sherrod Brown speaks at a Campaign for Ohio rally at the King Arts Complex Auditorium in Columbus on Oct. 7. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo Editor

“This is a particular moment in time where we must speak truth, uncomfortable though it may make some feel … And what are those truths? They are the truths that racism, sexism, homophobia and anti-semitism are still alive in this country,” Harris said. “Let’s speak that truth so we can deal with it. Let’s speak the truth that in America today the American Dream is out of touch for so many of us.”

Harris also echoed many of the talking points of previous speakers and spoke about her experiences being part of the Kavanaugh hearings on the Senate Judicial Committee, which she called a “sham and a disgrace” while urging Ohioans to exercise their civic duty.

“They have the power right now, and we need to take it back,” Harris said. “And the only way to do that is to get out and vote.”

Contrary to September’s Republican State Dinner, — which consisted of President Donald Trump boasting Republican values and criticizing the Democratic Party – the importance of voting this November was the central message.

Over the past several years, the turnout for registered Democratic voters has been relatively low. At the end of the evening, polls were presented and showed all statewide Democratic candidates ahead, tied, or within the margin of error in their races.

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