Thursday, February 07, 2008

Report on Gooding County Caucus

What a night! We didn't have hundreds of participants like Twin Falls... or THOUSANDS like Ada County... but we DID have a great turnout!

We all gathered in the back room at Sally's Office Solutions and Deli... folks started arriving early but they were very patient while we finished getting set up. (It helped that they could order soup, sandwiches, coffee, and more while they were waiting!)

Carpools came from Hagerman and a nice group came from Wendell... it was wonderful to see them! We missed folks from Bliss, but hopefully we'll be addressing that over the next few months. Since we live in a rural area, many of the faces were familiar and some were a surprise! I was able to re-connect with a woman from Wendell who I hadn't seen in at least 8 years, and put some faces to some names I recognized. A couple of Republicans joined us and I really think they felt welcomed.

As volunteers, some who are new to the caucus process, we had some bumps during the evening... I hope those of you who noticed will be willing to help us out next time! We'd greatly appreciate it!

We broke into our groups and that is when the "fun" started...

I prepared for the night by bringing information about Senator Obama's positions and plans. I wanted to be able to inform, clarify, educate, etc. if there were any questions or concerns. Others in our group were willing to also present our candidate that way. I made a conscious decision to NOT bring information about Senator Clinton's weak areas... I am not willing to play that type of game. I believe in success based upon our candidate's great qualities... winning as a result of trashing the opponent is not a "win", in my opinion.

Unfortunately, others were of another opinion. Yes, a couple of folks in the Obama group did get a dig or two... but they didn't dwell on it. But when it was time for the Clinton group to begin speaking, their spokesperson began a ten-minute (or more?) spew of attacks and misinformation regarding Senator Obama. In all fairness, Clinton's group as a whole were not expecting their representative to speak in that manner... but nobody stopped him. After a few minutes, our group tried to re-focus him on sharing Clinton's attributes but to no avail... he was too intent on spitting out poison. Finally, somebody called "time" and he sat down. It was so awful that people next to me were asking if he was a Republican... I said "no", that "all families have their drunk Uncle Bob and he was ours... sigh..." {Since our group was unable to address the accusations of this individual during the caucus, I will be doing so here on my blog and welcome the input from other participants of the evening...}

That was the only negative part of the evening... overall, the night was a complete success, in my opinion, no matter which candidate the participant was supporting. I don't think we could have fit another body into the room... everyone felt welcomed and listened to... if one wanted to speak, they were given the opportunity... we connected with old friends, strengthened friendships with current ones, and developed new friendships as well. Our delegates will represent us well at the state convention...

My favorite moments...
Joking around with one of the Clinton supporters... he's a great guy and we tease each other about our choices... in a friendly and respectful manner. He's someone I've only met this last year and I've sincerely enjoyed our conversations... and I really enjoyed it as Obama's numbers kept increasing during the evening, while his candidate's numbers ... well, let's just say that Obama was the clear winner of the evening! He's a gracious gentleman and took my teasing well!

Sharing the evening with some of my dearest friends... some were old friends, some are relatively new friends... we've shared our fears, our concerns, our frustrations about our losses, our families, our faith. Tuesday felt like the dawn of a new day... and I can't think of a more wonderful bunch of people to share that feeling with...

There were other "Kodak" moments of the evening, but the blue ribbon goes to sharing this memorable evening with my 17-year-old daughter. She will be 18 this summer and will be able to vote for the very first time. Watching her experience democracy in action is priceless.

Oh, yes, the results?
Clinton: 15 (23%, 1 delegate)
Edwards: 1 (2%)
Obama: 48 (73%, 2 delegates)
Uncommitted: 2 (3%)
(For complete statewide caucus breakdowns, go here.)

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