Posted by: pattiandben | November 5, 2008

Ack!! 4 More Days!! Campaign Update

WOW…. I can’t believe there’s only 4 more days to E-Day! Has it really gone that fast?!?

There have been so many ups and downs every day… and sometimes every hour. Thank you to everyone who’s had such wonderful words of support. It’s what has kept me going in all this craziness. So what exactly have I been up to the last two and a half weeks here in this great old battleground state of Colorado??

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Working on fumes
  • Mobilizing the Asians! (and hosting Congressman Mike Honda from San Jose)
  • ‘Staffing’ the Joe Biden and Barack Obama rallies

DETAILS: WORKING NINE TO ONE (A.M.)

I’ve been going on little sleep… usually getting home to my brother’s place around 11pm, 12am or even 1:30am. And lucky me, I get to crash on the couch that used to be at my parents house when I was in high school. Yeah, it’s nice and lumpy and saggy all these years later! I’m also eating like I was in college… which means eating like crap. There’s no food in the HQs so I’ve either gone to McDonalds cause it’s a block away, or snack on the cheese-its or triscuits that I bought my first week. Sometimes I have just enough energy to pack a sandwich for the next day, but that’s rare. Lunch has been at 5pm some days and dinner’s usually around 9 or 10pm.

DETAILS: MOBILIZING the ASIANS!

I’ve been working out of the state’s main headquarters in Denver, assigned to the AAPI Constituency team. So what is that? I’m basically in charge of mobilizing the Asian American Pacific Islander vote, along with Hayin Kim, another Californian (I actually used to work with her boyfriend at LeapFrog). We are the two people solely responsible for bringing in the Asian American vote across Colorado. Crazy! It’s been pretty tough. Unlike the Bay Area or LA, there’s NO concentrated Asian neighborhoods. Not even one Chinatown or Korea town or Japan town. So how do you find the Asians?! At the one main Asian grocery store in Greater Denver… H-Mart. This is THE ‘mecca” for Asian Americans here… some people drive all the way from Colorado Springs (an hour away) just to shop here.  So we’ve been canvassing and recruiting volunteers to canvass H-Mart on the weekends… giving out “Asian Americans for Obama” pins, bumper stickers and signs, and encouraging them to vote Obama and to vote early. We gave out about 500-600 pins alone on Saturday at the H-Mart!

This was one of the mobilization strategies that I helped put together on my first day here. Part of a 7 prong strategy to target the AAPI vote, and I  think it’s actually been working. We’ve also placed ads, Letters to the Editor, etc to the local language papers (i.e. Korean and Chinese newspapers… thanks for your help Annie Pong and Florence Fung!), and set up phone banking targeted specifically to AAPIs.

The highlight has been securing a visit from Congressman Mike Honda (D-San Jose). Yep, he oversees Silicon Valley and is half Japanese, half Hispanic, and a true champion for Asian Americans. He’s a surrogate who’s been campaigning across the country for Obama. We got the word on Tuesday (10/21) that he would come here on his own dime and we had a week to figure out what to do with him! We spent it setting up events, putting together his talking points, scouting locations and rounding up people (i.e. Asian Americans and more) to actually come to our events! (See pix at: http://picasaweb.google.com/hayink/CongressmanMikeHondaDCA#)

Hayin and I set up a high powered luncheon at a dim sum place with local elected officials and minority business leaders. Congressman Honda spoke to Obama’s stance on minority small business, the importance of the AAPI vote, and how Obama has been and will continue to support Asian Americans. We asked everyone to pay for their own lunch (since we literally have zero funds… yeah, trying putting together events with no money!), but the Congressman surprised us by picking up the entire bill. He truly is a nice guy!

In the afternoon we took him to canvass several Asian business areas. The highlight of the night was a big AAPI Get Out the Vote rally at a local comedy club. Congressman Honda is not only nice, he’s also a funny guy! I admit I was scared that we wouldn’t have anyone show up, but we actually had a good turnout of about 60. Whew! And there were a lot of double shots of Makers going down… the full story on that will need to be in person. So ask me when I get back =P

Afterwards we tried to take the Congressman to a highly recommended Mexican restaurant because we heard he loves his beans and rice… the key word there is ‘tried.’ We got there at 9:05pm and they closed at 9:00pm. We begged and pleaded and even pulled the “This is Congressman Mike Honda. He’s the Vice-Chair of the Democratic Committee and has been campaigning all day. Congressman Grijalva (D-Arizona) recommended this place to him!” Yeah, that didn’t do anything. They told us they turned off the grill at 9 and shut the door on us. After getting denied at a second restaurant, we ended up at a divy Mexican-slash-late night jazz bar. The menu included a choice of a hamburger, sloppy burrito, taco or tostada. I probably don’t need to tell you the quality of the meal, but by that time anything of substance was good to us. But I did enjoy the moment. How often do you get to eat dive bar food and throw down some beers with just you and a congressman and a friend?!

Alright… this got a lot longer than I thought. So my next email.. if I can get to it… will be on the Obama rally… stay tuned…

G’night!
;patti

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