I’ve never been to Nevada before and I may be suffering from culture shock. There’s a well known phrase that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas and I certainly don’t intend to give a lengthy explanation of the ins and outs of last night so I’ll skip straight to the campaigning…
We had to get up early to drive to the campaign headquarters. Our destination turned out to be a Tuscan-looking mansion about half an hour north of Las Vegas. Even though this state is basically desert, the house was surrounded by lush, green lawns and there was even a paddock with grazing fresian cows behind a rustic wooden fence that looked like it had been imported from New Hampshire. Very odd. We were greeted there by a friendly Democrat, Elena from California, one of the many out-of-state volunteers who have come to help out. She loaded our car up with Obama-Biden posters and coated our T-shirts with stickers before sending us on to the local campaign centre run by Sherri Grotheer an enthusiastic volunteer who runs a tight ship and provides all her helpers with more snacks than you can shake a stick at and has a husband who cooks a mean chilli.
We were briefed by another volunteer Dan, a local teacher who has been inspired to get involved because of what Obama has been saying about education reform. Dan gave us campaigning sheets with the names and addresses of who we should talk to, a map and leaflets and sent us on our way. The objective was to find out who had already voted so that we didn’t waste time bothering them with unnecessary calls and to encourage those who had not yet voted to get out and vote on Tuesday. Dan gave us the key messages to use on the door and he took us through the dividing lines with the McCain campaign. Once in the car we fought with the sat nav which only seemed capabable of giving us instructions in Mandarin.
We finally made it to where we needed to be and walked the streets for several hours knocking on doors and talking to voters. Their main concerns were the economy, the war in Iraq and taxes. There was plenty of concern about mortgage repayments and we passed many homes that had been reposessed. Most of those we spoke to had either already voted or were planning on voting for Senator Obama and as we listened to the radio in the car we heard the encouraging news that the latest polls were putting Obama on 49% and McCain on 43%.
McCain does have plenty of support here though and it’s certainly not yet in the bag for Obama. As a sign of this Michelle Obama will be in town tomorrow morning for a rally. Once we’d finished our work out on the doors, we came back to HQ and started to call registered Democrats to ensure that they knew about the rally and to see if they were able to come along. The local party is expecting a big turnout to see Michelle hope that the event will encourage more volunteers to get involved during the last last 48 hours. We’ll be at the rally in the morning so I’ll be sure to report back on how it goes.