FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — Is Bernie Sanders for real? Three-dozen enthusiasts who gathered at the Silver Star Diner in Norwalk recently think so.
Do you plan to vote in the April 26 primary in Connecticut?
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They came together to hear from volunteer organizers for his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president and left liking what they heard.
Sanders volunteers in Connecticut have been hard at work since the summer, with the objective, as Norwalk leader Deb Goldstein said, “to keep Bernie Sanders viable through Connecticut’s April 26 primary.”
With the Nutmeg State's primary so late, their efforts are not the typical get out the vote effort. Instead, Connecticut volunteers are phone banking – but in Iowa and New Hampshire. They are targeting people identified by the national campaign as potential supporters to gauge the level of their support — not to persuade but to ask.
Others are traveling to New Hampshire to knock on doors to make people aware of the upcoming election and raise interest. These are the first two contests between Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with the Iowa caucus on Monday, Feb. 1, and the New Hampshire primary is Tuesday, Feb. 9.
These efforts will soon shift to Nevada and South Carolina, and keep moving around the country as each state’s primary or caucus approaches.
One of the evening’s speakers was Nina Sherwood, a Stamford resident who said she has been “passionately involved in politics for about 10 years.”
Sherwood said that she had never seen “so much excitement by people who have never voted,” and added “he speaks to me.”
She called Sanders “the real deal,” and pointed to his donations from over 1 million people — more than President Barack Obama at this stage of the campaign.
Another volunteer is 22-year-old Chris Yerinides. He has “never volunteered before … I didn’t even know what a primary was,” but he added, “This is really rewarding.”
Debra Cohen, a retired teacher from Wethersfield, is involved in her first campaign. She came to it after being a part of the Occupy Hartford movement, heard Sanders speak and thought, “He’s speaking to the same issues.”
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