Cam­paign sea­son winds down

Obama, McCain vol­un­teers pre­pared

The Covington News - - Front Page - By Rachel Oswald

With only a few more days to go be­fore the 2008 elec­tion sea­son comes to a close, the pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns in New­ton County are get­ting ready for one last get-out-the-vote push be­fore Tues­day.

Jen­nifer Gor­don, field di­rec­tor of South DeKalb, Rock­dale and New­ton coun­ties for the Obama cam­paign, said the cam­paign will be phone-bank­ing and can­vass­ing this week­end.

“We’ve got quite a few ac­tiv­i­ties,” Gor­don said. “In Cov­ing­ton, we have a pretty strate­gic plan to keep … all of our vol­un­teer-base mak­ing in­ter­nal phone calls, can­vass­ing neigh­bor­hoods and just re­ally keep­ing the pos­i­tive spirit of the cam­paign go­ing.”

Gor­don said the cam­paign had three spe­cific New­ton County vot­ing precincts tar­geted for can­vass­ing ef­forts this week­end.

“We’re just ex­cited about what we’ve built,” she said. “We have a huge vol­un­teer base that will be blan­ket­ing the neigh­bor­hood, get­ting the word out about Se­na­tor Obama and Se­na­tor Bi­den.”

The McCain cam­paign plans to do some neigh­bor­hood can­vass­ing and phone-bank­ing of vot­ers in the crit­i­cal swing state of Florida as well as some phone-bank­ing to un­de­cided, Repub­li­can and in­de­pen­dent vot­ers in the county, said Frank Turner Jr., New­ton County John McCain cam­paign chair.

Turner es­ti­mated that more than 1,000 John McCain/Sarah Palin signs and 750 bumper stick­ers have been passed out in the county.

How­ever, the steal­ing of cam­paign yard signs for both cam­paigns has been an is­sue.

Gor­don said the theft and de­fac­ing of Barack Obama/Joe Bi­den yard signs has been sig­nif­i­cant and is a much big­ger is­sue in New­ton County than in neigh­bor­ing Rock­dale County.

“As soon as a set of yard signs have gone up, they’ve been sys­tem­at­i­cally taken down,” said Gor­don, adding that the cam­paign has a voter pro­tec­tion team of at­tor­neys looking into the is­sue.

Turner also said there have been re­ports of the thefts of McCain/ Palin yard signs but added that the steal­ing of cam­paign signs is a com­mon oc­cur­rence dur­ing elec­tion sea­son.

Both the McCain and Obama cam­paigns have made avail­able cam­paign signs and cam­paign para­pher­na­lia for all of the party ticket candidates at their Cony­ers Street and Emory Street head­quar­ters re­spec­tively.

Gor­don said this has been the most ex­cit­ing pres­i­den­tial cam­paign with which she has ever been in­volved.

“It took a while to get those who were disen­fran­chised from the two prior elec­tions mo­ti­vated,” she said, adding that the Obama cam­paign has seen an enor­mous re­sponse from lo­cal Democrats run­ning for of­fice seek­ing to join forces.

Turner said he thinks more res­i­dents have be­come con­cerned in re­cent weeks with the pos­si­bil­ity of the Democrats pick­ing up enough Se­nate seats to have a fil­i­buster proof ma­jor­ity.

“I think peo­ple are start­ing to re­al­ize the grav­ity of that and I think that’s help­ing [Sen.] Saxby Cham­b­liss in Ge­or­gia as peo­ple re­al­ize the se­ri­ous­ness of what the coun­try would face in that sce­nario,” he said.

Both cam­paigns praised the ef­forts of their vol­un­teers.

“We have had a tremendous out­pour­ing of sup­port from the evan­gel­i­cal com­mu­nity and fis­cal con­ser­va­tives,” said Turner, adding that the cam­paign has had about 400 vol­un­teers sign up to work for McCain’s elec­tion.

Un­like the pres­i­den­tial races of 2000 and 2004, Turner said the cam­paign will have poll watch­ers sta­tioned through­out the county to watch for any voter ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties. The Obama cam­paign said they have also signed up poll watch­ers.

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