While Mississippi Democrats are hopeful their nominee will make it to the White House, they aren't counting on support from their home state to get him there. Party members from the 4th Congressional District met in Long Beach on Saturday to choose delegates for the National Convention in Boston this summer. They talked about the difficulties of being Democratic in a largely Republican state.
"I ask you to send me to Boston so I can cast my vote for South Mississippi for John Kerry to be our president," Emily Liner told a group of fellow Democrats.
The 18-year-old believes in the principles the Democratic party. It's a party she says needs to do more to get its message out to Mississippians.
"I think that we need to branch out and attract younger voters because a lot of younger voters are apathetic," she said.
Bay St. Louis author and Democrat Ted Reuter is skeptical about presidential nominee John Kerry's changes of carrying Mississippi in November.
"Pretty unlikely," he said. "It's a pretty Republican state. I think he's got a chance in Louisiana and he's got a chance in Florida, but Mississippi would be extremely difficult."
The people at the convention say they're in a difficult position. Critics from outside Mississippi accuse them of not living up to Democratic ideals of social and economic justice, while in-state critics label them as being too liberal.
Margene Minor moved to the South from Illinois.
"I believe that it has been historically very difficult to be a Democrat in Mississippi because most of the Democrats in Mississippi are African Americans. I admire they're courage and they're fortitude. They have had to put everything on the line to be Democrats," she said. "I want as much as I can to be apart of this party and be a part of people who've supported beliefs and goals when it's very difficult to do so."
Democrats chose five delegates to represent the fourth district at the National Convention in Boston in late July. It's possible that more delegates from South Mississippi may be selected at the state Democratic convention in Jackson later this month.