I arrived at the Harrisburg Sheraton around 5 PM yesterday to find a lot of friends here, people who have worked tirelessly for months organizing this event. I know the hotel well from covering many Democratic State Committee meetings at this venue. Tons of dedicated liberal activists, labor leaders, and candidates are roaming the halls and networking. There are lots of people I don’t know (yet) so seeing new faces is amazing.
The Gubernatorial debate was interesting. It was quite clear who the progressives are and who the pretenders are. The audience repeatedly gave Joe Hoeffel loud rounds of applause as he hit question after question out of the park. The loudest applause of the night was his advocacy for single payer healthcare. Chris Doherty is obviously the next best progressive candidate. He isn’t the best speaker (by a long shot) but established his bona fides well. Jack Wagner, as usual, was polished and professional but completely avoided answering a question about abortion. He is virulently anti-choice. He and Dan Onorato both said they would not support same sex marriage. This is a core progressive issue along with a woman’s right to choose.
The state’s primary political reporters are all here covering the event and debates (well, forum tonight as Sen. Specter refused to debate). Today will be a very long day full of speeches and panels. I organized the panel on Blogging 101 and hop to see a good crowd gather to learn about blogging and ask questions. I already have a full camcorder from the Gubernatorial debate and need to download it to my computer then upload it to YouTube.