Story and photos by DOTTY NIST
“Walton County is just fired up!” said Josh Abel, field organizer for the 2012 Obama campaign.
Approximately 75 people turned out for the June 14 grand opening of a Democratic Party headquarters in Dankel Plaza on U.S. 98 in Santa Rosa Beach. The event was both a celebration and a chance for local party volunteers to meet area directors and organizers for the president’s 2012 re-election campaign.
“The secret weapon is everyone in this room,” said Mike D’Armi, Obama for America deputy field director for northwest Florida.
“Regular Americans hadn’t had a voice in a long time…for the past three years we’ve had a voice and we want to keep it that way,” D’Armi said. “We’re fighting for the future of our kids,” he proclaimed.
D’Armi observed that there were only 19 weekends left before the Nov. 6 general election. He encouraged attendees to spend those weekends working with with Obama campaign organizers and other volunteers.
Regional Campaign Director Bre Andrews noted that grass roots efforts and expansion of the electorate had resulted in Obama’s success in 2008 and would play an important role in his 2012 campaign.
Local volunteer Tom McGee urged attendees to “talk the president up with everyone we meet.” He also cautioned, “We must be respectful of those who disagree with us and have different opinions.”
McGee highlighted some accomplishments occurring during Obama’s administration, including the passage of a “medical package”—and that as commander-in-chief Obama had “got the guy who killed 3,000 of our citizens.” “He has been diligent is pursuing rights for all people,” McGee said of the president.
Obama had inherited an economic situation similar to a “truck stuck in the mud,” McGee observed. Rather than the truck getting “stuck to the axle…we’re still chugging along,” he commented. “He didn’t cause the situation, and he has done remarkable things to keep us chugging,” McGee said of the president.
“We are realistic…we don’t think President Obama will actually win in Walton County,” McGee said wryly of the predominantly Republican area. He added that, however, every vote garnered for Obama in Walton County would help the president’s chances of winning the state in November.
Regarding local elections, Nancy James reminded attendees that Democrats would be able to vote for candidates running for the District 3 and District 5 seats on the Walton County Board of County Commissioners in the Aug. 14 primary election.