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.
We took a break to see Governor Kasich give a staged endorsement of Josh Mandel. Politics is hot at this time and we had to cruise by protestors organized by Sherrod Brown wasting their time trying to influence the press that not everyone is in support of the Mandel campaign. The press ignores this as de rigueur action, making it a vaporized waste of human effort. Still everywhere the heat of the political battle remains palpable.
After a day of hard campaigning, we spent Thursday night attending an event in Cleveland where Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved and Jon Voight whipped up a crowd of 1,600, while Governor Romney was in Defiance, Ohio, getting 12,000 going in a high energy event. It was clear from what we saw that the Republican side wants to win this state badly and is out to accomplish their goal.
Notwithstanding whatever our group of 20 Californians can do to bring home the 18 electoral votes of Ohio, we still need the help of everyone we can get. There is one week to go and it will come down to the team that wants it more. You need to join the fray. If you know someone in a battleground state call them. Contact your local party office and see if they are phone banking to Nevada or Ohio. You can be assured that the public employee unions are putting all their efforts into this campaign. You can be assured there will be huge numbers of public school teachers missing from the classroom on Election Day because they always do.
We are making the Romney/Ryan case to win every voter in Ohio. You must do whatever you can so that come November 7th, we are all saying President-elect Romney.