Monday, October 25, 2010

Canvassin' for Kitzhaber

Governor Kitzhaber has a lot of support in my neighborhood
Sunday morning, I took a stroll down the street to Governor Kitzhaber's campaign headquarters.  Earlier in the week, I'd made a commitment to do some canvassing and, even though the weather was, as we say here in Oregon, "kinda sucky," a man has got to stand by his word, eh?

Señor Ardillo gave me a quizzical eye as I walked past
I arrived at headquarters to find the staff well involved with preparations.  Looming rainclouds had them stuffing campaign literature into plastic sheet protectors, sorted into neat packets for the volunteers.  Congressman Earl Blumenauer deployed some of his office staff to help with the canvass effort, and a steady influx of volunteers made their way through the doors.  Bagels and coffee were on hand to give people a little fuel to burn while they walked around the neighborhoods.
Weatherized campaign materials
 I learned a couple interesting tidbits during the brief training session/low-key pep rally:
  • the single biggest predictor of how a person will vote is the neighborhood in which that person lives
  • every 50 contacts made in a canvassing operation results in 4 extra votes, an 8% return on investment
This weekend was the beginning of the Big Push.  Most Oregon voters by now have received their ballots.  So from here to election day, it's a matter of reminding voters to get the ballots completed and turned in.

Pre-canvass training session
We were told that we would be contacting "likely voters" (voters who have voted in the last two elections).  Our contacts were further winnowed down to registered Democrats, Independents, and Republican women. 

Training completed, I was assigned to walk turf in the Hollywood District, south of Killingsworth Street between 37th and 41st avenues.  The neighborhood had a high concentration of Democrats.  My canvass sheet identified roughly every other house as a potential Kitzhaber voter.  I knocked on a lot of doors. 

Richard Lancefield
My canvassing partner was the loquacious and sage Richard Lancefield, a retired Portland attorney and fellow native Oregonian.  We got along famously.  Richard has a lot of great ideas about how to organize people.  

The weather was miserable:  intermittent, intense showers, gnawing coolness. 

The face says it all...
 If we're to believe the polls, the race is a dead heat between the Governor and his opponent, brick-laying former Trailblazer, Chris Dudley (46% career free throw shooter).   Dudley has a lot of money to throw at the race; millions more than the governor.  But here in Oregon, the Republicans still don't have an answer for the Democratic ground game.

We shall see...

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