Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 34
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
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Princeton Community Democratic Organization Celebrates Opening of Campaign Headquarters

Ellen Gilbert

Over 150 people turned out for the grand opening of the Princeton Democratic Headquarters of “Mercer for Obama” on Sunday. Sign-up sheets to help with phone calls, voter registration, button-making, and participating in an August 28 convention-watching party lined the walls of the rented space above Nassau Interiors, at 162 Nassau Street.

Volunteer Ken Norman noted that the new Princeton headquarters is modeled on the Silicon Valley-for-Obama office located in Palo Alto, California. One of the main functions of the computer-bank, he said, will be making phone calls via Skype to encourage people to vote for the presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate.

For the last several weeks, the grassroots effort had been located in the home of Princeton Community Democratic Organization President Jenny Crumiller. “We thought there would be a handful of people there,” observed Liz Lempert, Mercer County Co-Chair of New Jersey for Obama. “Instead, we were overwhelmed with between 20 to 25 volunteers most afternoons.”

Mercer Co-Chair, Jeff Laurenti, noted that in the February primary election, Mercer County had given Mr. Obama one of the largest margins in the state. He pointed to Princeton, in particular, as a community in which people are concerned with national and international issues, and are eager for dramatic change. “We have come to count on Princeton’s enthusiasm to energize the Obama campaign.”

Commenting on the “inspirational” turn-out on Sunday, Ms. Crumiller observed that the campaign was well ahead of past presidential campaigns she had participated in. “The group is really well-organized and so far ahead for August,” she said.

Ms. Lempert, who will be attending the Denver convention as a delegate, emphasized the grass roots nature of the Mercer county campaign operations. A five-person team is staffing the new headquarters, which is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. Volunteers were also encouraged to join button-making parties every Thursday from 2 to 7 p.m. The office will be open on weekends starting in mid-September. Ms. Lempert promised that air-conditioning, which was noticeably absent on Sunday, would be installed the next day, along with a water cooler.

Voter registration tables located outside of the Princeton Public Library and in front of the Garden Theater, were already in evidence last week before the headquarters opened. Volunteer Joanna Dougherty noted that she had signed up a number of first-time voters as well as people who had recently moved to the area.

Upcoming area fund-raisers for the Obama campaign include a house party that Caroline Kennedy is expected to attend on September 19 from 6 to 8 p.m., and a reception at Triumph Brewery on September 25, also from 6 to 8 p.m.

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