Democrats optimistic on Dukakis’ chances

The mood of local Democrats as the presidential election approaches is one of cautious optimism, according to the chairman of the Greenville Democratic Party.

William Webster, speaking the county Democrats’ monthly breakfast Saturday morning, said recent polls in South Carolina show apparent Democratic nominee Gov. Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts running well ahead of the expected Republican choice, Vice President George Bush.

Webster credited the “bold energy” of Jesse Jackson and the “professionalism and integrity” of Dukakis for the boost in Democratic spirits, along with national deficit problems.

“From bomb shelters and behind trees and from all kinds of hiding places, Democrats are coming out, and we’ve got the feeling we can win this thing in the fall,” Webster said.

Success in the national election is vitally important to local races, Webster said.

“The party that consistently wins the White House will eventually win the courthouse,” he said.

Local Democrats were unable to find candidates for several local races this spring. Webster said that failure is compounded by the age difference between Greenville County’s Democratic and Republican legislators.

The average age of Democratic members of the delegation is 62, Webster, compared to 42 for the Republicans.