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Monday, November 01, 2004

Sunday on the Campaign Trail with Ginny

Posted by Chris Bowers

This week, I had the time of my activist life working with/witnessing the Ginny Schrader campaign in action. It was a grassroots, citizen-based campaign the likes of which I have never seen before in my life. Ginny herself is a remarkable, fantastic person. If John Kerry wins tomorrow, I will still be depressed if Ginny Schrader loses. She is exactly the sort of person we need in Congress, the sort of person everyone says they want in Congress. She is the American Dream in the flesh.

Here are just some of the things I learned about Ginny's campaign during my two days:

�Ģ No staff member has been paid in about a month. Nearly all of the money they raised went directly to campaign related activities, even though they raised more than $400K over the past three months. In addition to funding the final mailing, our final few contributions probably meant that the staffers would not go home completely empty-handed.

�Ģ Ginny's campaign might be the first Congressional campaign in history to raise the majority of its money online. Ginny received the majority of her money form blogs, MoveOn, DFA and direct online contributions.

�Ģ Over the final week, the campaign is fueled primarily by several hundred volunteers, most from in-state who just walked into either the campaign office or one of the five Democratic coordinated campaign offices in Bucks county.

�Ģ Apart from organizations such as ACT, MoveOn labor and environmental groups, there are nearly 1,000 volunteers walking Bucks county in the coordinated Democratic campaign this week. Bucks has just under 600,000 people.

�Ģ If Kerry reaches 55 or 56% in Bucks county, Ginny will win. I have seen the numbers in the county, both for the congressional and Presidential campaign, and this is very doable. Right now, Bush is stuck in the mid to low forties in the district.

On Sunday morning, before noon, I helped seventy-five volunteers stream into the office, fold literature, be quickly and orderly assigned walking lists, and sent into the field to work with the over 200 volunteers at one of four offices of the Bucks County Democratic coordinated campaign.

Also on Sunday, starting at 7:30 am, well before Ginny spoke in a predominantly African-American church in the MontCo corridor of the PA-08, an RV covered with Ginny signs, called the "Ginny mobile" was already touring the streets. Playing music and with former Congressman Mike Forbes as MC, Ginny would jump out of the RV every so often to shake hands with enthusiastic supporters. I was frequently aboard the RV, and being there gave me a feeling of utter confidence and excitement about the campaign.

I saw Ginny walk tables in a diner with Senator Bill Bradley, who I had the honor of meeting and chatting with for a couple minutes (we actually talked about, of all things, Chris Mathews). I shared a free loaf of bread with the staffers, Ernestine Bradley (Bill's wife), George Schrader (Ginny's husband) and Ginny's two young granddaughters, who came to the diner for the event.

I saw Senator Bradley, usually reserved, immediately perk up and give the most intelligent, thoughtful response to any question the second he was asked. He was remarkable--the political equivalent of what my father said Jim Brown was like as a football player (Brown walked back to the huddle as slowly as possible to conserve energy, but he would explode whenever he was handed the ball).

I saw staffers, most of whom were younger than myself, act with incredible professionalism and dedication even as they casually chatted with me about blogging, Senate campaigns and swing states. I did not keep an exact count, but I think the staff thanked me more than one hundred times for the help the netroots had given to the campaign.

I saw a rally of two hundred volunteers greet us when we arrived at the one of the coordinated campaign offices, cheering like mad as Ginny, Senator Bradley and everyone else stepped out of the RV. I saw Ginny and Bill give excellent speeches, and then I saw all two hundred volunteers return to canvassing only a few minutes later.

In the midst of a campaign fueled almost entirely by small donations averaging $40 and hundreds of volunteer activists, I saw NRCC TV ads calling Ginny Schrader and Lois Murphy terrorists who supported the rape of young girls. Now you tell me, how am I supposed to have any respect for Republicans at all after seeing that? It was the face of pure hatred scowling at a group of active citizens filled with hope. The NRCC is running this ad nationally to attack every Democrat in a close election--how can you have any respect for Republicans at all after this attack?

In short, I saw politics the way it should be run: a fully functional grassroots campaign supported by the larger party. I also saw it up against the definition of how politics should not be run: an evil smear campaign used in an attempt to perpetuate a radical agenda. A loss here would be a profound defeat for American politics. Then again, that Ginny is close is already a huge victory. This is what the blogosphere has wrought.

Posted at 10:54 PM in Activism, Pennsylvania | Technorati


don't you feel stupid. Fitzpatrick thumped that anti-American Ginny by 10 points. Obviously you bought Ginny's load of crap about the number of people on the street but on election day the fitzpatrick folks had the polls covered and Ginny folks were almost invisable. Luckily the great folks in Bucks County were smarter then you and did not fall for Ginny's crap. GO FITZPATRICK!!

Posted by: brad at November 11, 2004 01:36 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment