Thursday, December 6, 2007
After Hillary Clinton lost more ground in Iowa polls, her campaign this week dug deep into Barack Obama’s presidential aspirations. Clinton’s camp cited Obama’s kindergarten essay “I Want to Become President” to counter Obama’s statement about how long Clinton has planned to run for commander in chief. Obama’s camp, possibly heeding recent advice from Karl Rove, fired back: “I’m sure tomorrow they’ll attack him for being a flip-flopper because he told his second grade teacher he wanted to be an astronaut.”
Just as the leading Democratic candidates are getting testy, Central Coast Dems will have their own spirited primary. On Dec. 9, local Democratic clubs will transform Salinas’ Sherwood Hall into a boisterous convention floor, with marches, political speeches and a straw poll.
Shawn Bagley, president of the Salinas Valley Democratic Club, says the event is the biggest gathering of Democratic activists on the Central Coast he can recall. “This is a way we can activate Democrats in the Monterey Bay,” Bagley says. “We got a lot of work to do in 2008. Here’s an opportunity to do something.”
Although none of the candidates are expected to attend, they will have high profile politicians speaking for them. Assemblywoman Anna Caballero and Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union, will speak for Clinton. Betty Yee, chairwoman of the California Board of Equalization, will speak for John Edwards.
Christine Pelosi, daughter of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and chairwoman of the California Democratic Party platform committee, will also attend.
The event, which organizers call the “First Presidential Primary in the Nation,” comes just a few weeks away from the Jan. 3 Iowa caucus and about two months before the Feb. 5 California presidential primary.
“Right now Iowa is key,” Bagley says. “I want to make the Central Coast key.”
Bagley, who is also a regional director for the state Democratic Party, says there are about 250,000 registered democrats between Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito and San Luis Obispo counties. The Salinas event, Bagley says, will give Democrats an opportunity to get active in a presidential campaign and also cast a ballot for their favorite candidate.
“If you have a candidate you like,” he says, “you can make a difference in this primary. The road to the White House comes through the Central Coast.”
THE STRAW POLL EVENT HAPPENS NOON-5PM ON SUNDAY, DEC. 9, AT SHERWOOD HALL, 940 N. MAIN ST., SALINAS. $10 OR TWO CANS OF FOOD. 262-0367.