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Capital Region Biden Delegates Embrace Virtual Convention

Biden delegates Albany County Executive Dan McCoy and Chief City Auditor Dorcey Applyrs
WAMC Composite Image by Dave Lucas
Biden delegates Albany County Executive Dan McCoy and Chief City Auditor Dorcey Applyrs

Former Vice President Joe Biden will accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for president tonight. But in the age of COVID-19, local delegates are taking part in what has become a mostly virtual Democratic National Convention.

Traveling to a distant city to attend a political convention is off the table this year due to COVID-19. The pandemic has thrust everyone into a fast-tracked virtual reality, staying at home and connecting via Zoom.

Albany Chief City Auditor Dorcey Applyrs says her first Democratic National Convention is definitely not what she envisioned.

"Even though it's not in-person, I've still been very busy. I have crafted my schedule in a way that I'm able to start the morning listening in as part of this New York delegation. We have a breakfast every morning starting either at 8 or 8:30, in which the state chair gives an overview of what's happening and giving updates on events that members should consider. There's a recap of what happened during convention festivities the day before."

Applyrs says with the click of a mouse she's attended various caucuses, panel discussions and virtual roundtables.

"You're in the privacy of your home, but in fact I've found it to be very engaging, still a level of excitement. I feel energized, I feel motivated. A level of passion and commitment is still being conveyed. As to why it's an important moment in our history and why it's important that we show up to vote and why it's important that we encourage constituencies across the country to show up. It's a common theme being this is one of the most significant elections of our lifetimes."

Fellow Joe Biden delegate Albany County Executive Dan McCoy admits virtual camaraderie has taken some getting used to.

"Being at the convention, when they go 'Oh, New York, who you with?' You stand up in sequence. Actually the way they did it, going through every state and given just a different part of the state and hearing from them, that was awesome. I really enjoyed that the most. Because when you're in a big arena, you can't take on a rock concert, you're all into it but you can't hear what's going on. But it's tough because you wanna get your message out there, you want people, you wanna connect. It's tough when you're looking at an iPad or you're on your computer or you're watching it you know when they do it live or it's on the radio station, you know so, it's gonna be tougher this year getting that message out."

McCoy says Biden was his presidential pick early on.

"There's a field of great candidates that were running for president but I went with Joe Biden from the beginning. So the other six that ran with me, the delegates, Caroline McGraw, Jack Flynn, Dorcey Applyrs, Wanda Willingham and Carol all got on the same petition and we stuck with him from day one and we were right. People want to see a Democrat that has ability, that is gonna bring peace to this nation and do what he did when he was vice president with President Obama."

Applyrs says the party has rallied around Biden with purpose..

"Democrats, regardless of where they fall on the spectrum of conservative versus progressive, there is one common goal. And that common goal is to ensure that we have Donald Trump out of the White House."

President Trump recently told the New York Post he believes he can win New York in November.He would be the first Republican to carry the state since 1984, and no credible elections analyst thinks the Empire State will go red anytime soon.

Applyrs and McCoy say New York looks blue to them:

"From where I sit and the view I have, there seems to be a lot of support for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris."

"If you look at the way that Trump has not only responded to the COVID-19 epidemic, the economy, which is so important, and not having a similar package to bail out New York City, it's gonna hurt. I'll say this and I'm not trying to scare your listeners: if you go through the next couple of months without getting somebody in the White house that's gonna fight for us and put money back in to New York state, we're in a lotta trouble."

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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