COLUMBIA — The political scene is building in mid-Missouri, with presidential campaign supporters holding meetings and events this weekend and in the coming weeks.
Five groups have formed locally, four Democrat and one Republican, each in support of a particular presidential candidate. There is a group for Ron Paul, John Edwards, Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Richardson. These people are passionate about their candidate, and if you give them a minute of your time they’ll offer a wealth of information.
“We’re trying to form a base in this community,” said Bill Clark, supporter of Bill Richardson. “So we’ll be ready to move against the primary if he wins.”
Most of the Democratic and Republican primaries will occur in February; however, several states, including Iowa, will have early primaries for each party. This has encouraged the local Edwards, Obama and Paul campaigns to take road trips to the neighboring state in order to canvass.
“It’s pretty much the most important place for him to win,” said Rebecca Schedler, an active John Edwards supporter and campaign organizer. “People have been saying if he doesn’t win in Iowa, it’s all over. I’m not sure I believe that, but it’s really, really important for him to win in Iowa.”
Missouri’s presidential primary is Feb. 5, and Jan. 9 is the last day to register to vote in that election.
More Democrats than Republicans seem to be polarizing toward specific presidential candidates, with four of the local political campaign groups for a democratic presidential nominee.
Some Republicans are undecided and are waiting for the primaries to choose a candidate to support.
“I think on the Republican side we don’t have a real strong candidate yet,” said Russ Duker of the Boone County Republican Central Committee. “There’s a divide between social and fiscal conservatives.”
The Missourian has compiled a list of presidential campaigns in mid-Missouri. Here’s a look at each local campaign:
Republican Representative from Texas, www.ronpaul2008.com
Local supporter: Matt Begemann, 20, is an MU undergraduate researcher at the Biochemistry Department.
“I am a Libertarian at heart, but it’s just the way he (Ron Paul) approaches questions and answers questions. He has a statement, then backs up that statement with references to the Constitution, which is what our country is founded upon.”
Local activities: Begemann said that the group has put together radio advertisements, handed out literature at events such as the Twilight Festival, created YouTube videos and traveled to Kansas City and elsewhere to hear Ron Paul speak. He also sent letters and made phone calls to people in Iowa and Texas before the Ames Straw Poll.
Web site: www.ronpaulcolumbia.com
Upcoming meetings/events: Meetings set for 7 to 8:30 p.m. every Friday at the Cherry Street Artisan.
Democratic Senator from Illinois, www.barackobama.com
Local supporter: G.T. Blackwell, 24, is a bookseller at Barnes and Noble.
“I think he would be able to bring a lot of bipartisanship and also I think that judgment has been lacking in the last eight years in the White House. He would be able to restore the United States’ credibility with other countries.”
Local Activities: Blackwell said the group hosted a Barack-a-Que barbecue event and a rally to commemorate the senator’s anti-war speech, members have traveled to Iowa for canvassing as well as canvassing in Columbia, they have hosted information tables on the MU campus, and they have participated in the MU Homecoming parade.
Upcoming meetings/events: Groups will be traveling to St. Louis to hear Barack Obama’s speech at 5 p.m. Friday in Union Station. On Nov. 3, carpools will be traveling to Iowa to canvass.
Democratic Governor of New Mexico, www.richardsonforpresident.com
Local supporter: Bill Clark, 75, is a Second Ward Democrat committeeman and a columnist for the Columbia Daily Tribune.
“To me, he’s the only quality candidate in either party to be president. His experience is so wide and varied. What he’s done internationally transcends party.”
Local Activities: The group held a discussion with the Missouri Volunteer Director for the Richardson campaign, Todd Haim.
Contact: 474-4510 or Kelley Lucero at email@example.com
Upcoming meetings/events: There are no scheduled meetings or events at this time.
Democratic trial lawyer, www.johnedwards.com
Local supporter: Rebecca Schedler, 52, is a Library Information Specialist at Ellis Library.
“He’s smart; he doesn’t forget where he came from. ... He knows what it’s like to not be able to pay your bills; that gives him a depth of experience.”
Local activities: Schedler said that some group members traveled to Iowa in order to canvass.
Contact: 882-0837 or 443-4401
Upcoming Meetings/Events: Fundraising House Party 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday. Contact Sid or Joan Sullivan at 234-2374. Meeting 7 p.m. Nov. 7, location to be announced.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Democratic Senator from New York, www.hillaryclinton.com
Local supporter: Betty Wilson, 75, is an attorney and certified mediator.
“I think she has the experience and the competence and the vision to be our leader and to take her place among world leaders. ... I think it’s important to have a female voice represent this country as well.”
Local activities: Wilson said the group has been organizing and gathering materials. They participated in the Boone County Fair parade and the MU Homecoming parade, and they have also distributed information at local events.
Contact: 442-1372 or 442-3134
Upcoming Meetings/Events: Meeting 7 p.m. Nov. 5 at Focus on Learning Center 110 N. Tenth St. No. 7.