Muscogee Democrats ready for change

Use whatever word or phrase you want — change, turn a new page, start down a new road. For Democrats huddled at the Goetchius House Tuesday night, they all mean the same thing.

"It's definitely time," said Devon Morris. "The time has come."

Change for most Muscogee County Democrats meant Barack Obama, who soundly defeated Hillary Clinton with 16,845 (71 percent) to her 6,581 or 28 percent.

Morris sat at a table with a growing crowd as a television in the background flipped through the candidates. Her fellow Democrats may have voted for different people in the Super Tuesday election, but they're all looking for the same outcome in November.

"They said before, 'It's the economy, stupid,'" said Doug McLeod. "But this time it's change."

Morris wasn't so sure. She believes the increased interest in the presidential preference primary was linked to what she said was a worsening economy, pointing to a McDonald's commercial that mentions a weak dollar.

Almost everyone Morris encountered in her customer service job Tuesday was excited about the election, she said. They were all interested in making change happen — a theme that spilled over into the Goetchius House that evening. Forrest Parker, a music student at Columbus State University, remembered his former high school students as uninterested in politics. That's changed.

"This has been a longtime building," he said.

Voters overwhelming sided with Democrats in Muscogee County. Some 64 percent of voters went Democratic in Columbus — a sign for Alice Pate, chairwoman of the Muscogee County Democratic Committee, of heavy crossover.

And while the Democrats won't have a clear nominee today, they've sent Republicans a message.

"I would clearly say, overall, there is a vote for change," Pate said. "There is real excitement in the Democratic race."

The excitement was felt throughout the various camps. Bunky McClung Clark, a volunteer with the Clinton campaign, watched the returns roll in from her candidate's Columbus headquarters. Clinton didn't win against Obama in Georgia, but Clark said volunteers at the Clinton office were happy with results from other states.

"We're looking at the delegate count," she said. "We don't think we're going to wrap it up today."

When a nominee is chosen, though, McLeod said Democrats must solidify their support behind him or her. Writing checks is easy; getting "foot soldiers" out to spread the word is more difficult.

"We are ready to made a change, to get our country back on track," Morris said.