When I moved from Shaker Heights (Cleveland), Ohio, at 15 years of age, little did I know that I would be excluded from the world of presidential politics as a grownup by being a Californian. In 2012, I have returned to Ohio for the last two weeks of the campaign -- and what a difference 2,000 miles makes. There is actually an election going on here.
It does not take long to confirm the reality that you have entered the epicenter of Election 2012. The local news reports that Biden and Obama were here today (Tuesday, October 23rd) for a rally in Dayton. On Thursday Romney will be here doing multiple events, but a Romney son was also here on Tuesday doing events with Governor Kasich. Watching local news you see commercial after commercial for the candidates trying to cross the finish line in first place.
That does not even include one of the most hotly contested senatorial races in the country between incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican challenger Josh Mandel. In the one-party state of California, Dianne Feinstein has spent $3.29 in her campaign to retain her U.S. Senate seat against Elizabeth Emken (ever hear of her?). The most exciting thing to happen in California was when Congressman Brad Sherman got physical with Congressman Howard Berman during a debate. Who knew he had it in him?
As I have for the past four elections, I moved out of state to work on the presidential election. First, 2000 in St. Louis, then 2004 in Portland, followed by Denver in 2008 and now Columbus for the battle of 2012. Twenty people have joined me at their own expense over a two-week span to make sure that Mitt Romney and Josh Mandel win in Ohio. This is not party time -- this is the hard work of getting out the vote (GOTV).
Before we arrived there was talk of the vaunted Obama ground game. Yet the Republicans, led by Scott Jennings working on the Romney-Ryan campaign, tell a tale of long, hard work even before we touched ground. The Romney campaign had (with three weeks to go) knocked on close to 2,000,000 doors and had 4,000,000 phone contacts to voters. When I arrived in the office where we are working here, I experienced an advanced phone contact system. Every four years the advances are staggering. There are now no caller lists or messages to be left. The database is in the phone. You auto-dial a potential voter to speak to them or, if you get voicemail, all you need to do is hit a button and a pre-recorded message is left. Boom, you are on to the next caller. It is quite miraculous.
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