DENTON — The Caroline County Democratic Club held its annual breakfast at the Denton American Legion, Saturday, June 1, with guest speaker Justin Butler, regional organizing director of the Eastern Shore for the Maryland State Democrats.
Butler, who was raised in Easton, said bringing Caroline County Democrats together is “always an effort” and called growing up as a Democrat on the Eastern Shore an “interesting experience.”
Democrats in Caroline County, Butler said, are faced with “some additional issues that other Democrats in Maryland don’t have to deal with” because they’re surrounded by Republicans.
Nearly 2,500 more Republicans than Democrats are registered as voters in the county and 10 percent more of them vote, which he said shows him there’s “nothing but opportunity for improvement.”
Butler then told the story of when he worked as a trapper at Schrader’s Sporting clay ground in Henderson, rubbing elbows with “wealthy Republicans” and learning about what’s important to Eastern Shore residents.
“I have a deep understanding of what our values are here on the Eastern Shore on both sides of the aisle,” he said. “Reaching across party lines is important.”
As for the party’s current and future efforts to rally Democrats to the polls, Butler said they’re putting an emphasis on inclusion in a plan he called the “24-county strategy.”
“We can’t just focus on Prince George’s, Montgomery, Baltimore City, Baltimore County,” he said. “We know we have to get out and make sure all of our Democrats in the state feel included.”
Butler specifically pointed out some of his team’s proposed tactics for increasing voter turnout and candidate success.
Doing things like hiring more field organizers, arranging access to an online database with state voter records, hosting training sessions for central committees, and offering guidance to Democratic candidates in hard-to-get regions, he said, will contribute to party wins.
Butler said his team also plans to focus on smaller elections throughout Maryland in the months leading up to the 2020 presidential race.
“We’re focused on the next 21 months between now and when the election kicks off in 2020,” he said. “We have to keep up with our community engagement [and] our voter outreach.”