FAIRFAX, Va. – Dressed in T-shirts reading “Change Begins at GW” and peppered with Obama-Biden campaign pins, about 25 members of the GW College Democrats headed to the D.C. suburbs on Saturday to “turn Virginia blue.”
The CDs trekked from house to house, seeking undecided voters who might make the difference for Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.
“This is an extremely important election and I believe in the candidacy of Obama,” said freshman Natasha Frosina, who canvassed for Obama in South Carolina on the day of their primary. “Virginia can easily turn blue and northern Virginia is where they will turn. By knocking on doors and talking to people, I’m doing my part to help Obama take Virginia.”
Freshman Josh Brown said he joined the CDs as a liaison to GW Acting Politically for Israel, a branch of the Student Alliance for Israel student organization. Although GAP Israel is a bipartisan group, Brown said he supports Obama because he would be the best candidate for Israel and the Middle East.
Once the enthusiastic group of Obama supporters arrived in Fairfax, members of the Virginia Coordinated Campaign handed out maps and listings for the houses they would need to target. The CDs had previously worked with the Virginia Coordinated Campaign, canvassing for Obama for President, Mark Warner for Senate and Gerry Connolly for Congress.
Maps and lists in hand, canvassers split up and went their separate ways.
Sophomores Jay Herman and Matt Ingoglia, both members of the CD executive board, found a different reaction behind almost every door they knocked on, though many Virginians were friendly and happy to talk with them about their political views and favorite candidates.
An elderly man smiled when they said they were campaigning for the Democrats and shared a story about his first political campaign – handing out buttons for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936 when he was seven. Another man told Herman and Ingoglia he was a lifelong Democrat and assured the students that “we are going to win this one.”
Other homes were not as welcoming. A number of women were aggravated with the constant campaigning in the area, and several residents disappointed the eager Democrats with news that they were voting for Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain.
In October, the College Democrats head to Cleveland, Ohio, where they will canvass for Obama in one of the election’s most important swing states.
“Canvassing is the most meaningful thing a student at GW could do – politically, at least,” Ingoglia said. “If Obama wins Virginia by 200 votes then we will know we helped do that.”