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St. Joseph County Democrats energized heading into midterm elections

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – St Joseph County Democrats have their eyes set on the midterms.

Monday, the party hosted a meet and greet with primary candidates in the hopes folks hitting the polls will be inspired to turn key seats blue come November.

“We have bad representation and if you want to change it you got to be a member of the change,” said  voter Pam Claeys. “St. Joe County is motivated to change and that’s what we’re working for.”

Change at the local level and beyond is what many at the forum are calling for.

Voters got a peek at the names going on their ballots come May, but many wanted make sure their prospective leaders heard their voices as well.

“As time goes we see that we may need to make change to see where it fits but I still feel very strongly about the big blue wave here in St. Joseph County,” said voter Karl Nichols.

Candidates and party leaders are hoping they can galvanize more voters to ride that blue wave as well, especially after quite a few decided to sit the past few elections out.

“They’re seeing the consequences of that now and I’ve had so many people tell me ‘I’m not going to make that mistake again,’” said Jason Critchlow, St. Joseph County Democrats Chair.

Back in 2016, voter turnout was at 53 percent in the county.

That’s down one percent from 2012 and a huge drop from 60 percent in 2008.

There’s usually less interest during the midterms.

Turnout was at just 29 percent in 2014, significantly lower than the 40 percent turnout in 2010 and 45 percent in 2006.

So there’s a strong chance turn out will dip again this year.

But, Democrats are hoping it won’t be their party’s voters skipping out.

“There’s this huge influx of activism from people and it’s really great to see,” said Critchlow.

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