Local Democrats bring Howard Dean to area | TheUnion.com

Local Democrats bring Howard Dean to area

SACRAMENTO – Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean has re-entered the national political scene, but not without help from two Nevada County Democrats – Mary and Bruce Longmore.

In fact, when Dean spoke at a breakfast forum Saturday at the Radisson Hotel in Sacramento, Mary Longmore was the first person the former presidential hopeful thanked.

“She personally got Howard Dean to speak here. She and Bruce are really influential in the party,” said Nevada County resident Delores Miele Saturday.

The Longmores were instrumental in organizing the morning breakfast where bigwigs such as Sen. Joe Dunn and the Rev. Al Sharpton joined Dean in addressing the excited crowd of more than 400 people. Democratic supporters had come from all over the country to hear candidates seeking leadership spots on the Democratic National Committee discuss their goals and visions for the party’s future Saturday.

Dean is hoping to snag the spot that currently belongs to outgoing DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe. During the Feb. 12 DNC election, he will face six other contenders, including former Reps. Tim Roemer and Martin Frost, party activist Donnie Fowler, New Democratic Network President Simon Rosenberg, former Ohio party chairman David Leland and former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb.

The afternoon was reserved for a meeting of the DNC to interview the candidates and marked the third of four similar forums that have occurred nationwide.

While it was tough to find people who did not favor Dean Saturday during the morning session – as demonstrated by the plenitude of blue pieces of paper that were waved in the air by Dean’s supporters – Nevada County resident Michaele Merlo warned, “that doesn’t mean they are only for him.”

Some people may have come specifically to hear Dean speak because his appearance was promised in e-mails Mary Longmore sent out about the breakfast forum, which she said she had wanted to organize to give people the chance to speak out for their candidate of choice before the afternoon session.

The e-mails drew more than 1,000 responses, with more than 600 of them in the final days, Mary Longmore said, who almost seemed surprised Saturday at the amount of interest the forum had sparked. But Mary Longmore – who is the more outspoken of the two Longmores – is no neophyte to political organizing.

For some of the 50 local residents who traveled to Sacramento for the day’s events, she is responsible for what they believe is a revitalization of Democrats in Nevada County itself. Her energetic involvement in the party is undisputed and her rise relatively quick.

“I was the person who was lucky enough to get (Mary Longmore) involved in politics three years ago,” said 71-year-old Nevada County resident Bill Toensing, who said he has been a Democrat since he was old enough to vote. Now Mary Longmore is not only the chairwoman of the county’s Democratic Central Committee, but is also the area vice president for the California Democratic Council and was a delegate for Dean when he was up against John Kerry in the Democratic primaries. She also helped secure permanent headquarters for the county’s chapter of the party.

Her reason for her drive seems best summed up by her own words that were spoken to Saturday’s crowd:

“We were a powerhouse once and we’ve got to get that way again.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

For more photos from the conference, visit https://www.theunion.com/apps/pbcs.dll/tngallery?Avis=TU&Dato=20050123&Kategori=PHOTO&Lopenr=123001&Ref=PH

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