Candidates use celebrities to spread message
Ryan Summerlin November 1, 2012
EDWARDS, Colorado – Actress Laura Dern was in Edwards Thursday at the Obama campaign’s field office to talk to local volunteers about the importance of their efforts.
Dern is flying from place to place, she said, in the days before the election because she said grassroots efforts are so important. She made three stops in Colorado Thursday – Edwards, Frisco and Evergreen.
Dern’s appearance highlights the importance of star power during this campaign season. Both Obama and Mitt Romney have used celebrities to help spread their messages.
Last week, Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan held a rally at Red Rocks where singers Kid Rock and Rodney Atkins performed. Colorado Rockies legend Todd Helton also spoke in favor of the Republican ticket at that event. Last Saturday, actors Laurence Fishburne, Jon Hamm and Zachary Quinto, among others, rallied for Obama in Grand Junction.
While celebrities might have more reach, their presence within each campaign highlights why the grassroots effort is so important.
Colorado is a key battleground state this year, and the latest poll shows a tight race here with a slight lead going to Obama. The tight race and coveted nine electoral votes in Colorado are why the candidates aren’t giving up in the days before the election.
Paul Ryan is making a stop in Montrose Friday following his Thursday appearance in Greeley, while Mitt and Ann Romney will be in Denver and Colorado Springs Saturday.
Obama also held a rally in Boulder on Thursday night at the University of Colorado.
And while Romney has 13 Colorado field offices, known as victory centers, and the Obama campaign has 62 offices in the state, Eagle County Republicans chair Kaye Ferry doesn’t think it matters much.
Ferry thinks the Republican presence is much stronger in Eagle County – just look at the signs along Interstate 70, she said. She noted that the attendance at the Republican caucus shattered records, and the latest turnout record is for poll watchers – people who literally watch the polls on election day to look for anything suspicious or odd.
She said it’s been “pretty astounding” that in almost all of the times she’s been out waving signs in the mornings, the Republicans never run into any Democrats.
“To me, they’ve been pretty nonexistent up here,” Ferry said. “We’re working hard.”
The Democrats have been knocking on doors, too, and using folks like Dern to energize voters. About 20 people showed up to see Dern on Thursday, many of whom went out door-knocking after meeting her. And the feeling around that Obama field office was that the Democrats have been tirelessly door-knocking, too.
Jess Frieze is one of them. He’s a part-time Edwards resident from Kansas who said his home state will never vote for a Democrat, which is why he’s spending his time knocking on doors in Eagle County. Obama field office employee Lander Karath said Frieze has been volunteering just about every day for the campaign.
“We’ve just got to work as hard as we can,” Karath said. “In five days, you can have your life back.”
That’s the attitude Ferry has, too. She said she’s going to have to find time to wash her hair in the days leading up to the election because she’ll be so busy.
Both the Democrats and the Republicans will be making a big push this weekend in advance of election day. And both sides agree there aren’t many undecided voters left, so the goal now is to make sure people actually vote.
“Regardless of anyone’s point of view, they must utilize their voice in this country,” Dern said.
Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.