A politically inclined pair took the first step on Wednesday towards converting an empty car dealership on El Camino Real into a place where volunteers can influence voters in the 2012 Presidential election.
Eitan Fenson, CEO of InPoint Systems Inc, and Menlo Park resident Ernie Chilberg spent the day installing high-speed internet cables at a new Democratic Party field headquarters that is being established in Menlo Park; it will be called the Mid-Peninsula Democratic Volunteer Center. A plethora of campaign activities will be taking place at the center, which is being designed "to elect Democrats, pass progressive initiatives, and reduce candidate campaign expense," according to the center's website.
Describing the big-picture goal, Fenson said, "The objective is to get Obama re-elected and to put Democrats in seats occupied by Republicans.”
More than 400 people have committed to helping the Democratic party at this office to date; 50 of those people are slated to deposit their time into the center's phonebank. A phonebank, in this context, is a group of telecommunication devices used to call people on a list of registered voters. The desired outcome is to gain the support of the person called. That support could come in the form of votes, time, or money.
This isn't the duo's first rodeo. When Fenson and Chilberg worked with the 2008 campaign from an office in Palo Alto, their team logged more than 100,000 calls on one particularly productive day. The 2012 campaign team will be Skype-ing registered voters in battleground states such as Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, and Ohio where it is not yet evident whether the state will go to Obama or Romney.
“It’s looking like Obama has Pennsylvania and Florida,” Chilberg said, “Virginia is a tossup,” he added, pausing for a moment to reflect upon this statement as we stood between empty tables in the spartan building. Chilberg smiled and said, “My conservative Republican nephew says, ‘We’ve got Virginia.’” His facial expression implied he didn't believe his nephew.
In addition to bolstering the Obama campaign, volunteers will be distributing campaign materials for Democratic politicos from the center. (D-CA 14) will have a table where her volunteers can campaign. Staffers from the office of Congresswoman (D-CA 12) have already dropped off lawn signs for people to pick up and plant in yards.
Training for the center's leaders began on Wednesday night. The center will officially open on July 30.