After spending days with like-minded people at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Democrats Scott Markle and Corynne Courpas return today to Republican-controlled Carroll County.
With their return, the Westminster couple brings with them hopes to slowly grow the Democratic Party in Carroll. The first step is to get Carroll County Republicans to actually look and consider voting for viable, experienced Democrats, Markle said.
"It seems like we run candidates who are very experienced, run great campaigns, talk to the voters, go door-to-door, make phone calls and they get the same percentage of votes as people who just put their name on the ballot and choose not run an effective campaign at all," Markle said. "I think that shows you that voters in Carroll County don't look at the candidates. They just vote solid Republican the whole way."
For the number of Democrats to grow in Carroll, Markle and Courpas said Republicans have to be made aware of what the party is about rather than what it is perceived to be about. While the couple has attended five Democrat National Conventions together, Courpas said this most recent trip solidified what the party stands for.
Issues like women's and human rights, health-care reform, veterans affairs and economic growth are Democratic issues that everyone, no matter their political party, can support, she said.
"I never have to pause when somebody asks me why I'm a Democrat," Courpas said.
During the first couple days of the convention, Markle and Courpas got tickets to see speeches by First Lady Michelle Obama and Gov. Martin O'Malley. The couple said they really enjoyed the speeches, especially when O'Malley pointed out the great things being achieved in Maryland.
Markle said a touching moment occurred when the convention-goers were led in the Pledge of Allegiance by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was nearly killed when she was shot in the head in 2011.
"That was one of the most moving things I've ever seen," Markle said. "People had tears in their eyes. It was one of those things where everyone in the hall was on the same page."
President Barack Obama closed out the convention Thursday night with a speech highlighting his accomplishments during his first term.
It's hard to inspire people when you're listing your accomplishments, Markle said, but the president got everyone in attendance invigorated as the speech was coming a close.
"People were on their feet, waving their signs," Markle said. "As we were leaving Time Warner Cable Arena, you could just see people's faces beaming that they were so proud of their president."
"The slogan is 'Fired Up, Ready To Go' and by the time we left that arena we were fired up and ready to go," Courpas said.