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Campaigns at work

If George W.

Friday, November 03, 2000

If George W. Bush and Al Gore knocked on doors around Lawrence County, they would find a common theme – decidedly determined voters, county party leaders say.

"Most people I run into are one way or the other," said Eddie Markins, coordinator at Lawrence County Democratic headquarters.

"In this part of the country, there’s not a lot of gray area," Markins said.

Republican headquarters co-coordinator Jesse Boles calls it the snap decision.

"I always thought this county has been more of a decided area," Boles said. "When they announce they’re running, most people snap right to who they want."

Party campaigners find that true as they travel across the county passing out literature and trying to change minds as Tuesday’s deadline nears.

Voters seem satisfied with what they’ve been hearing on either side, Republican headquarters co-coordinator Jimmy Gore said.

"Most people don’t even want to talk about it," Gore said. "You just give literature and go on."

Literature drops, mailings every day, knocking on doors – it’s a battle in a battleground state, Markins said.

Swaying voters is difficult where they stick to their guns, too, he said.

"I try to be up on the issues and I try to give an informed opinion," Markins said. "I point out that if Bush can’t do a better job with Texas how’s he going to manage 50 states."

Undecideds aside, county campaigns for electing a president center on healthcare issues for a good reason, the parties said.

Better care and prescription drug benefits, specifically, Gore said.

"That’s what Clinton ran on eight years ago and we still don’t have it," he said.

People will vote for the best candidate in the end, Gore added.

"But, in my opinion, the best person for the job is usually a Republican candidate."

Interest in the race is high. Just look at the yard signs; look at the last-minute rallies in West Virginia, campaigners said.

"When you get out in the barber shops, grocery stores, social situations, it seems like everybody’s talking about the presidential race," Markins said. "I think the tone of the campaigns is hitting close to home."

Presidential issues people are looking at today – Social Security, Medicare and others – affect them directly, he said.