Optimistic Cobb Democrats celebrate ‘Infinite Shades of Blue’ at the Omni Hotel

Crowd rises to applaud Stacey Abrams at Gala of Cobb DemocratsCrowd rises to applaud Stacey Abrams (photo by Haisten Willis)

There’s a blue wave coming in Cobb County. At least, that was the message delivered by a host of high-profile political candidates and party insiders during the Annual Awards Gala of the Cobb Democrats.

Held at the Omni Hotel’s Atlanta Battery location on the same night as a Braves game, there was plenty of noise and a packed crowd both outside and inside the grand ballroom.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Democrats in Cobb County are on the rise,” said Cobb Democratic Party Chair Michael Owens to cheers from the crowd.

A combination pep rally and fundraiser, attendees paid $125 for the dinner, with some tacking on an additional $75 to attend a reception beforehand.

Cobb Democrats pack the house

There was a packed house and a lot of optimism to go around. It was said during the event that more than 70 Cobb County Democrats are running for local, state or federal public office, including 31 women. Many of them could be found at various tables inside the ballroom.

Crowd rises to applaud Stacey Abrams (photo by Haisten Willis)

Crowd rises to applaud Stacey Abrams (photo by Haisten Willis)

Stacey Abrams

While not from Cobb, Georgia Governor candidate Stacey Abrams was arguably the biggest star of the show. She took the stage to chants of “Stacey! Stacey! Stacey!” and after beginning by thanking the wait staff for their hard work, kept the energy level high throughout her stump speech.

“We’re going to have a solid blue state that never goes red ever again,” said Abrams. “Georgia is not a red state, we are blue and confused. But that confusion ends Nov. 6.”

Abrams also took time to plug members of the rest of the Democratic ticket, including Sarah Riggs Amico (lieutenant governor), John Barrow (secretary of state), Fred Swann (commissioner of agriculture), Otha Thornton (state school superintendent), Richard Keatley (commissioner of labor) and public service commission candidates Lindy Miller and Dawn Randolph.

She emphasized policies as well, including her support for public schools, healthcare as a right rather than a privilege, expanding Medicaid and eliminating tariffs and private school vouchers. After naming a handful of south Georgia counties with no hospitals or grocery stores, she made a plea to be given a shot.

“If you ask Republicans what they plan to do about it, they say go to the free market,” she said. “Well the free market hasn’t solved that problem in 20 years, so I think it’s about time for a Democrat to take over.”

Flynn Broady and Lucy McBath

Abrams was followed up by two congressional hopefuls in Flynn Broady and Lucy McBath.

Broady is facing two-term 11th Congressional District incumbent Barry Loudermilk as a first-time candidate. His speech focused on his 26 years in the military, which included leading 157 soldiers into combat in 2006. He noted the diversity of the troops under his command, and then took note of the diversity in the ballroom.

“If you’re an American, please stand,” he said. “You in this room are what democracy looks like.”

McBath faces Karen Handel in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, and has attracted national attention with a campaign focused on gun control after her son was killed in a 2012 shooting. She retold some of the story during her appearance, describing her frustration when she hears that the United States isn’t ready for new gun safety regulations.

“There are few forces more powerful than a grieving mother,” she said. “That’s the reason I decided to support common sense gun laws. I said, ‘enough is enough.’”

Once the speeches were over, award winners were recognized.

Among the recipients were the late Dr. Beth Farokhi for lifetime achievement, Teri Anulewicz as elected official of the year, Yolanda Alvarado-Sanchez as volunteer of the year and Lynne Tipton as Democrat of the year.

Haisten Willis
Haisten Willis is a freelance writer who lives in Smyrna with his wife, daughter and dog. He holds a master's degree in journalism from California State University, Fresno, serves on the board of SPJ Georgia and even rides a bike when time allows.

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