CHARLOTTE – Less than two weeks before the Nov. 6 General Election, about two dozen volunteers for Democratic 9th Congressional District candidate Dan McCready assembled in a south Charlotte home for a postcard writing party.
The volunteers were going to address and put stamps on about 2,000 handwritten postcards that were going to be sent to voters across the district.
But before group leader Carolyn Eberly gave out instructions for the evening, the Waxhaw resident took out the most recent edition of Time magazine. The cover was titled, “Wave Makers” and showed a wave of “I voted” stickers heading toward President Donald Trump. Inside was a story titled, “How the Anti-Trump Resistance is Organizing Its Outrage” and with the story was a picture of seven women and one man from the 9th Congressional District who are part of a national movement to elect Democrats across the nation in the midterm election.
Eberly and her group Indivisible N.C. 9 have come a long way.
Eberly was just a normal voter until November 2016. After Trump was elected President, she decided it was time to take a more active role. Eberly participated in the Women’s March in Charlotte in the days after Trump was sworn in and she still has the cover of Time that chronicles those marches across the country.
“Being in Time magazine was quite a shock,” Eberly said. “I have that Time Women’s March magazine and now a year-and-half later we are in Time. We are bringing the change.”
The group’s main goal is to flip the 9th District by electing McCready and ending a 55-year grip on the district by Republicans.
After the Women’s March, Eberly searched ways to get involved in the political process with other groups but ultimately decided to host her own meeting to get the ball rolling. She posted a notice for her meeting on Facebook. Twelve people responded but only three showed up.
“I started by having a letter writing to our Congressman,” Eberly said. “Four people in my dining room started Indivisible N.C. District 9. That is how it got started.”
Now, Indivisible N.C. District 9 has over 1,000 followers on its Facebook Page, which was launched six days after Trump took office, and several hundred more on its email list. Many of the volunteers are Democrats but unaffiliated voters and even some Republicans have joined the cause.
The group’s first big event was to host a town hall in south Charlotte. They invited 9th District Congressman Robert Pittenger to attend. Over 200 people and three television station news crews show up. Pittenger didn’t.
“We planned it all,” Eberly said. “We rented a space and put press releases out. (Pittenger) sent us a formal letter saying we were disrupting democracy, and he didn’t even know anything about our group. For me, it was an eye-opener because there are people out here in District 9 that are hurting and they want to talk about the issues.”
“They felt that they are not being represented,” said Ava Williamson, a group member from Matthews, about the town hall. “We realized that we were not going to be heard. We got a lot of new members after that.”
Before McCready won the Democratic Primary last May, the group started what they called deep canvassing. They contacted Democratic and unaffiliated voters to start a conversation about issues affecting the district and to inform them about the primary. After McCready won the nomination, the group has been working to elect the former Marine and business entrepreneur to Congress by knocking on doors and sending out postcards to voters across the district.
McCready will face Republican Mark Harris next month. Harris, who is a strong supporter of President Trump, defeated Pittenger in the Republican Primary. Several national experts rate the race as a tossup and flipping the seat is critical if the Democrats are to win the 23 seats needed to take control of the House.
“Our focus is flipping Congressional candidate District 9,” Eberly said. “The district is pretty diverse among the number of Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters. It is evenly split. To have a congressman that is going to support the President 97 percent of the time is not representative of this district.
“I’m encouraged by the enthusiasm and this group offers ways to be involved. Dan McCready has been traveling the district listening to people. He is not coming in and telling people, ‘this is this and this is this.’ But he is really trying to hear what the needs are for District 9.”
Williamson said the group will not let up until the polls close Nov. 6.
“It’s going to be a close race,” Williamson said.
Republicans stump for Harris
Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Lara Trump are among prominent Republicans that have campaigned on behalf of congressional Mark Harris in recent days. President Trump was also expected to visit Bojangles Coliseum on Oct. 26 for a rally.