Harriet Scureman of Connecticut and formerly of Kingston canvasses Kingston to get last-minute voters out to the polls.AIMEE DILGER/THE TIMES LEADER
WILKES-BARRE – Volunteers backing Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said they are proud of the impact he has made in Luzerne County despite losing Tuesday’s primary.
“The entire Democratic political establishment support of Sen. (Hillary) Clinton made this an uphill battle from the beginning. I am personally very proud of the grass-roots operation we put together,” said Rita Boyle, a local volunteer and Obama delegate candidate.
Several of his supporters gathered at Keenan’s Pub at the Ramada Inn on Tuesday night watching the national newscasts for the latest state updates.
With all 189 of the precincts in Luzerne County reporting, Clinton, of New York, received 48,075 votes, or 74.75 percent, as compared to Obama’s 15,975 votes, or 24.84 percent, unofficial results show.Volunteer Amber Mason and her mom, Marion Mason, see the 24 percent Obama received as a win. Amber Mason, 23, developed a slogan used on T-shirts that spelled out her candidate’s last name: “Our Best Attempt to Mend America.”
“I am looking at it still as a victory as compared to the polls a couple of months ago. He has won a lot of support. Considering this is Hillary country, it could have been 90 percent for Hillary. I believe he mobilized support that he wouldn’t have been otherwise,” Marion Mason said.
Local field director Dan Herman is proud of the work his staff and the volunteers have done in the last few weeks.
“We’ve registered thousands of new voters and we’ve had hundreds of people volunteer and get involved for the first time in any election, which I think is a great thing for politics in this country,” Herman said.
Earlier in the day, 200 of Obama’s supporters showed the power of grass-roots campaigning by hitting the streets.
Starting at 9 a.m. and going until just minutes before the polls closed at 8 p.m., volunteers piled into vehicles traveling throughout Wyoming Valley, handing out literature, asking people if they voted yet and offering rides for voters who needed them.
Some of the volunteers hitting the pavement could not even cast a ballot in Tuesday’s election because they traveled from out of state to support the man they believe can change the country.
James Dancy from Boston has been campaigning in Luzerne County for more than a week.
He said that despite the numbers not turning in Obama’s favor, he doesn’t regret traveling here.
“I love him for what he is doing for the country. He is trying to bring people together of all nationalities, races and creeds. Everyone has a chance because he’s reached out to the public to see what ordinary people, not the rich, but the common people, want,” Dancy said.
Obama’s youngest local volunteer, 10-year-old Kendra Phoenix, is following her dad’s passion by becoming involved in politics.
After getting out of school Tuesday afternoon, the Kingston girl began canvassing for Obama.
“It feels pretty good because most kids don’t want to do this. They just want to stay home and play,” the fourth-grader at Good Shepherd Academy in Kingston said.
The first presidential office to open in Luzerne County, the Obama campaign office will shut down by the end of the week as field staff members are reassigned to North Carolina, Indiana or one of the other states preparing to host upcoming Democratic primaries.