PORTSMOUTH — Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) hosted a Blue Cocktail Hour fundraiser Tuesday at IBEW Local No. 575 in Portsmouth. Chairman David Pepper and Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz, the Democratic candidate for Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District made appearances at the event.
Pepper, Lorentz, Democratic Party activists and volunteers from Adams, Pike, Scioto and Lawrence counties were in attendance at the fundraiser, a grassroots organizing event, intended to garner support and get members of the Democratic Party engaged in the elections.
Pepper, addressed the crowd, explaining just how local political races can greatly impact national races, particularly in the race for the Presidency. Pepper thanked the candidates that were present for choosing to run for office.
“Sometimes parties make it look like we only thank you when you win. When you run for office you are carrying the banner of this party. You are our message in your county, in your community. Ted Strickland can’t be in every county every day, nor Hilary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, but you all can be,” Pepper said. “And by running, especially in the year that it’s important, you are lifting the entire table, and that is what Mike Lorentz and I talked about when he first considered running. And then I said people like Mike and a lot of you not only if you’re running for public service, not only are you carrying the message for these other candidates, but given that Donald Trump might be their candidate, you could actually win all of these races.”
Pepper also said Southern Ohio an extremely important as it pertains to upcoming political races.
“Southern Ohio is going to be so critical in the upcoming election,” Pepper said. “We have some important Congressional races, the Senate race, with Ted Strickland, the Presidential race. We know from the past, and we know from polling that this is a very important part of the state in all of these races, so there are a lot of Democrats, but also a lot of Independents who, if they see that we are talking about all of the right issues, will vote our way and they have in the past. Ted Strickland is a great example of someone who has done very well in the state. So, this is a critical part of the state to get organized.”
Lorentz said his visit to Portsmouth is two-fold.
“I came here tonight to support all of the Democratic people who are running for office and I want to get my name out there in the district that I am running for, which is the Sixth District,” Lorentz said. “I grew up in this District (six); I never left Washington County all of my entire life. I came from industry, and I believe that I have something to offer. I have to get started in raising money, I do know that. We have already been as far north as Youngstown, Gallia County. I have been mayor for eight years, served on the school board for 14 years, and so my name is out there, but now I want to do something for the entire District. I believe I have the energy, and I know what people need.”
Paul Price, candidate in the race for the Fourth District Court of Appeals, said the Democratic Party is becoming more motivated.
“Momentum is building. Excitement is building. For Democrats to gather this early in 2016, and have this type of turn out and enthusiasm, you can tell it’s going to be a big year,” Price said. Not only my judicial experience, but also the leadership that I can bring to the table relating to our fight against drug abuse in Pike County. I think that I am the only candidate in Pike County who has the resume showing that they are serious about fighting drugs in Southern Ohio, because I started the Pike County Drug Court, and also I evicted the Physician’s Pharmacy, pill mill pharmacy out of Pike County. Also, because my faith is important to me, I teach a local Bible study at a local drug rehab in Pike County.”
Ryan Ottney, candidate for Scioto County Commissioner, said maintaining high energy between elections is paramount.
“I think that there was great energy in the room tonight, and I think that what David Pepper said really describes what happens,” Ottney said. “We usually see a lot of energy at the time of the elections, but then you see a drop off between elections. It is important that we stay motivated, stay energized, and relay our message; I think you know why it is important vote Democrat during the elections. Coming from a newspaper background, my focus is transparency and open communication, coming from a journalism and communications background. Many times I would work really hard to get into the newspaper the information that I believed the public needed to know, and that is something that is very important to me, and is something that I hope to bring to this election.”
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.