October 2008


Homer Alaska

Weeks ending 12 Oct






New Obama office gets organized - After the small 2-room office we had been occupying, the interior of the new place seemed cavernous and unnecessary -  but we set about to fill it. Over the weekend we moved filing cabinets, computers, tables, and supplies - and then we found out the filing cabinets belonged to the old landlord, so back they went.  The Salvation Army store happened to have a couple so soon we were organized.  Within 2 days we had areas set up to:
  • Phone bank - Unfortunately we didn't have enough money or time to get new phone lines so we were basically incommunicado; only our personal SKYPe phone and a WiFi connection to a nearby hotel provided our connection to the world.
  • Postcard Writing - Since the campaign, with our agreement, believed that Alaska was unwinnable because of Palin we focused much of our efforts at writing postcards to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and other places.
  • Campaign Materials - We had tables set up with T-shirts, bumper stickers, yard signs, and all of the other accouterments of a campaign for those residents who wanted to flaunt their opinion.

Rally - Judi had a vision that what Homer needed was an Old-fashioned campaign rally with food, signs waving, music, speeches and lots of camaraderie and she set to make it happen.  20 phone calls and a sign-painting party later she made it happen - and fun was had by over 120 people of all walks of life.  The other campaigns never had anything to match it during the whole campaign. She had speakers ranging from teenagers too young to vote, to older anti-war activists - all supporting Senator Obama's quest. As the photos to the left attest, her vision became reality!

Busy at the Office - During this time we kept pretty busy at the campaign office, scheduling people, accepting contributions, filling in when others could not, and keeping the 'books'.

Raising Funds - The people who found us the new office had planned to pay for it by having a fundraiser at Alice's Champagne Palace, a local night club and so they did.  In a fun-filled evening they raised over $5000, enough to pay for all office costs and have plenty left over.  We then became believers that with a few local contacts and some confidence, it is possible to do quite a bit to help candidates.

Good Morning America - As part of their 50-state reporting GMA sent their weekend reporter, Kate Snow, to Alaska to see how Alaska was behaving in this campaign cycle. After visits to Anchorage and Wasilla the team dropped in on Homer where Snow and the video camera followed an organizer around and took shots of volunteers writing postcards and offering their opinions to editors.  Bob acted as Kate Snow's chauffer for the day. It was an interesting insight into how lean an operation can be: reporter, producer, videographer, and sound-man - just enough to fill a small float-plane.

Barn Raising - Well, not exactly a barn, more a woodshed and greenhouse.  We have started to take a little personal time away from campaign activities to get ready for the winter.  We started out to build a simple little shed to store wood so we could move it away from the house.  By the time it left the drawing board it was a little more ambitious and would include a greenhouse as well.  We were given a scare when we had 3" of snow on October 5th, and decided we really had to buckle down and do it.  So by mid-month we had the foundation and decking in place.

Week ending 19 Oct PET scan - In a quick trip to Anchorage we picked up more campaign materials and Bob had a PET Scan (all's well).

Maori dancers - As if to remind us of our adopted country 20 time zones away, the Kauhurangi Maori Dance Theater made its first stop in Alaska here in little Homer and danced up a storm!  Although many of their moves did not seem exactly like we had seen in NZ they were still an exciting group with lots of comedy and drama.  We viewed it at the local high school, and the younger kids loved it.

Weeks ending 2 Nov Photo-shoot - As the campaign period came to an end, Judi decided that it would be good to get as many of the volunteers together as possible for a one-off photo-op at the Obama HQ in Homer.  With her (by now) formidable email list she put together a happy time for 50-60 volunteers who showed up.  People posed, exchanged stories, wrote last-minute postcards, bought up some of the remaining campaign goodies and generally had a great time.  Everyone even showed good humor when we asked them to move to the other side of the parking lot to improve the lighting a little.


GOTV - Finally, what we and so many people had been spending their time on, was upon us - the end of the campaign.  The final weekend before the election was targeted by Obama and all Alaska Democratic candidates to Get Out The Vote.  Without getting into boring details it meant keeping lists, making phone calls, canvassing door-to-door ad communicating between campaigns to increase the number of 'friendlies' who either voted early or went to the polls on November 4th.  We were pretty happy with the results as our District ended up in the top 3rd in Alaska in participation and 3 of 4 candidates we were pushing won in the District. Unfortunately within the State the record was 1 of 4 but at least we gained a US Senator (Mark Begich) and Obama won despite Alaska's lurch to the right to follow Palin.