The Democratic National Convention may be over, but the general election battle is still ahead. Some of the state’s most involved Democrats have big plans for the 66 days that lay between now and November 4th.Twenty-three-year-old Robert Jarvis of Oskaloosa was a delegate to the just-concluded convention in Denver.
"I never even expected to be standing here today back on January 3rd," Jarvis says of his convention experience. "I didn’t even quite know what a delegate was, but I knew I wanted to be involved more than I had before." Jarvis has quit his job and has no idea where he’s going after Denver.
"I’m actually not sure that I’m even going home," he says. "One of the promises that I made in my speech to ask the Iowa delegates to send me to national, I said that the young people were not going to fall asleep at the wheel so I’m actually taking a job with moveon.org as a field organizer to get people out to vote, to turn out young voters."
Delegate Paula Martinez of Carlisle says she leaves Denver, ready to do the work to turn-out the vote. "Make calls, knock doors, have meetings, get volunteers," Martinez says. "…Just work ’til I drop." Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge warned the Iowa delegates at the Democratic National Convention they don’t want a repeat of 2004.
"I can remember the sickening feeling that I had the night of the last election," Judge said. "We cannot let that happen again." Delegate Sandy Opstvedt of Story City, a member of the Democratic National Committee, says 2008 has already been different from 2004. "I’ve seen more people working this time toward the election process than I ever have in history," Opstvedt says.
Opstvedt credits the lengthy primary fight between Hillary Clinton and eventual party nominee Barack Obama. "(It) was just a phenomental event because it got so many people involved in the process and many are staying in the process — most are." Stephanie Imoff of Ames says the convention accomplished it’s goal.
"It’s amazing and I can’t wait to get everybody ‘fired up and ready to go’ back home," she says. Delegate Sandra Pope of Ottumwa says she’s been awestruck and isn’t quite ready for the convention to be over.
"To me it’s like, you know, when you get that favorite dessert and you taste it for the first time and you just want to keep it in your mouth for awhile," Pope says. "This is that moment that I just want to keep on tasting it, over and over." This past week the Obama campaign’s chief of staff told the Iowa Democrats in Denver that Iowa is one of 18 battleground states in the fall election. That was Obama campaign chief of staff Jim Messina. Read more on-line at radioiowa.com.