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State Republicans, Libertarians Do Party Business At Conventions

Picture of a convention

Members of two state political parties are holding conventions this weekend.  The North Carolina Republican Party is welcoming many of its members to Charlotte. Party leaders say they'll use the event toemphasize new campaign approaches.  

GOP supporters want the party to make an effort to reach out to more minority conservatives.  Chief of Staff Mike Rusher says the party also wants to change its campaign approach from concentrating on heavily-populated voting districts to what he calls "a 100-county focus"."We need to reach out to counties and communities that we have not been in before and convey our message," Rusher says.  "Because when a Republican message is conveyed in the right way, it's picked up on.  It's supported by our voters so we feel very confident to reach out to more people in a different way than we've done in years past."

The party is expected to organize its effort to challenge Democratic Senator Kay Hagen in 2014.  State House Speaker Thom Tillis says he will run in the primary for the right to challenge Hagan.  State Republicans will hear speeches this weekend from GOP strategist Karl Rove, former Oklahoma representative J.C. Watts and former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown.

The North Carolina Libertarian Party is meeting meet near Asheville in the village of Flat Rock.  Convention organizers say displeasure with the mainstream parties is driving some people to take a closer look at Libertarian principles.  

Kevin Innes is chairman of this year's Libertarian Convention.  He says there will be a lot of training for convention-goers.

"How to be that spark, that source of inspiration of somebody who's showing by their own example of what it is to promote freedom and liberty in their own area whether it be sitting on a board of commissioners or various boards in their local community or running for House or Senate," Innes explains

Libertarians have historically advocated lesser taxes and smaller government.  The party's website shows organized Libertarian groups in 27 of the state's 100 counties.  Both conventions will conclude on Sunday.

Gurnal Scott joined North Carolina Public Radio in March 2012 after several stops in radio and television. After graduating from the College of Charleston in his South Carolina hometown, he began his career in radio there. He started as a sports reporter at News/Talk Radio WTMA and won five Sportscaster of the Year awards. In 1997, Gurnal moved on to television as general assignment reporter and weekend anchor for WCSC-TV in Charleston. He anchored the market's top-rated weekend newscasts until leaving Charleston for Memphis, TN in 2002. Gurnal worked at WPTY-TV for two years before returning to his roots in radio. He joined the staff of Memphis' NewsRadio 600 WREC in 2004 eventually rising to News Director. In 2006, Raleigh news radio station WPTF came calling and he became the station's chief correspondent. Gurnal’s reporting has been honored by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, the North Carolina Associated Press, and the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas.
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