Optimism flows along with music, food and drink at Hannibal Days, the annual statewide gathering of Democrats in Hannibal.

This is the 37 th annual Democrat Days at Hannibal, official title of the yearly get-together in northeast Missouri known simply as Hannibal Days. The first night provides an opportunity to mingle as candidates talk with the party faithful in what becomes part party, part business strategy session and part rally.

Former State Democratic Party Chairman Roger Wilson of Columbia says Democrats have a right to be optimistic. Wilson believes the country has grown long tired of the war and now is worried about the economy. A popular bumper sticker at the gathering states that gas was $1.46 when President Bush took office. Wilson touches the economic theme more than criticism of the war in Iraq in his assessment of his party’s chances compared to those of the Republicans. Wilson says it’s never good for the party that occupies the White House when the economy turns sour.

Sen. Wes Shoemyer (D-Clarence) has greeted the party faithful with a fish fry. Shoemyer says Hannibal Days provides relaxed atmosphere to reconnect with a lot of friends and to focus on the work at hand:  getting Democrats elected to office.

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