DNC official: Ferguson could boost get-out-the-vote push

Our AJC colleague Nicholas Fouriezos passes along the following dispatch:

The racial unrest caused by tensions over the shooting of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., could be a rallying cry for Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts, according to the voter education committee chair for the Democratic Southern caucus.

“There is a story beneath the story in Ferguson,” chairwoman Janet May said at the Southern Caucus meeting during the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta on Friday.

May ran through the stats of the 21,000-person Missouri town: 13,000 black citizens, about 7,000 white. Five city council members– one of whom was black. Fifty-three policemen – 50 of whom were white. A white mayor.

“Do you see the picture here?” May said. “These folk don’t vote in local or midterm elections.”

She added: “Now if we can’t take that scenario and roll it into a message for our party, we just need to pack it up and go home. Because we have been grasping for a message.”

That message is particularly important in Georgia, where Democrats are relying on African American voters making up at least 30 percent of the electorate to give them a chance. Democratic prognosticators have also targeted about 800,000 likely minority voters who sat out past midterm elections.

The top of Democrats' ticket got the star treatment at the Southern Caucus meeting.

Caucus members gave state Sen. Jason Carter two standing ovations and three rounds of applause during his speech. Energized by the home crowd, Carter threw a slider with a somewhat unexpected criticism of incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal’s boards.

Instead of hammering Deal on the fact that more than four-fifths of the governor-appointed members on Georgia's major governing boards donated to his campaign, he decided to attack the demographic make-up of those political appointees.

“There are 51 members of the boards that run our state government,” Carter said. “Of those 51 people, five are women.”

Carter revealed an internal poll showing a 2-to-1 advantage over Deal in female voters, drawing chuckles when someone asked what was his secret to doing so well with the ladies.

“That is the secret that everybody wants to know,” he quipped.