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Supporters ‘Knock for Barack’

Presidential election year 2008 has become an election year of firsts — the first time an African-American has won his party’s nomination, the first time a woman has claimed the number two spot on the GOP ticket and it may well be the first time a presidential candidate has opened an office in Lawrence County.

Though it has been open for more than a week, Barack Obama/ Joe Biden campaign volunteers had a grand opening Saturday morning for the Democratic campaign’s new office at 210 S. Third St. That was followed by the “Knock for Barack” effort where supporters knocked on the doors of Lawrence County residents to hand out campaign literature.

Each party typically opens an office each gubernatorial and presidential election year, but as far as most can remember, presidential candidates have used the county offices as ground zero for their own campaigns.

A storefront on Main Street

Robert Beasley was one of the half a dozen or so people who came for the grand opening. He said Obama was his choice for president from the beginning and now he is eager to work to see his candidate elected.

“I think there will be a change in direction,” Beasley said.

One of his main concerns is individual rights. He said he believes in recent years, the rights of citizens have been infringed on and he hopes Obama will appoint different judges.

Terry Null is another Obama supporter.

“I think he’ll make a great president,” Null said. “I just want to do what I can here in Lawrence County to get support for him.”

GOP thoughts?

Will we see the Republican campaign of John McCain and Sarah Palin open an office in Ironton soon? Spokesman Paul Lindsay said while the GOP presidential candidate has not opened an office in Ironton, “Our commitment to southeast Ohio is proven not only in our grassroots program, but in John McCain’s visits with working families in the region.

“Given that Barack Obama and Joe Biden have recently admitted their open hostility toward the clean coal that provides jobs and electricity in Lawrence County, it is no wonder either of them have yet to speak directly to the people who would be affected by such a reckless position.”

Biden was recently criticized for a comment he said was taken out of context during a campaign stop. He has since said he and Obama are supporters of clean coal technology.

McCain visited Portsmouth July 9 and then made a stop in Jackson Aug. 6.

People talking

The Obama supporters got last-minute instructions in grass roots politics from Obama/Biden Lawrence County Field Coordinator Graham Veysey and then fanned out across parts of the county for the door-to-door campaigning.

Null picked up campaign material and then headed for homes in the area of Quincy and South Seventh streets.

Loretta Litton said she tends to vote democratic, but is so confused about which candidate is telling the truth, she is not sure if she will even vote.

“I don’t know which one is best,” Litton said.

She said there are no specific issues she is particularly concerned about.

But further down the street at her neighbor, Belinda Brown was had made up her mind.

“You don’t have to ask me,” Brown told Null. She is already an Obama supporter. Asked what she likes about him she replied, “Everything.

“I think he’ll bring a change from the path this country’s been on for the past eight years,” Brown said. “I don’t think the country can stand four more years — I don’t think the country can stand one more year of George Bush.”

She said she had never been involved in a presidential campaign like this in her life until now.

David Wilburn said he is also an Obama supporter.

“I believe he has a better plan for the economy and health care,” Wilburn said.

While Brown and Wilburn were solidly for Obama, some of their neighbors perhaps were not.

Allison Gleichauf declined to say what her political leanings are, though she graciously accepted Null’s campaign literature. Kevin Malone also declined to discuss his political persuasion, though he said energy and health care are two of his primary concerns.