Hi everyone! I just wanted to follow up Melody's diary from Tuesday night where she reported about the amazing turnout for Obama in Dallas with a post about our own amazing turnout right next door in Fort Worth. I'm starting the diary with this picture because this little girl was adorable. Her entire immediate family was at the meeting and she had a front row seat for our event.
Let me start by saying that we were prepared for 250 people. We had supplies (nametags and sign in sheets) that could accomodate 320 people. We ran out of supplies shortly after the meeting began. We estimate conservatively that an additional 50-60 people filtered in after we ran out of supplies! I've been deeply involved locally since 2002, and this was the biggest informal (ie, not sanctioned by our local party) Democratic gathering I've ever seen. Even at the height of our Dean meetups, the most people we ever gathered in one place was about 125.
Here is a link to the small gallery of pictures that I shot at the meeting. Feel free to browse through them. You'll notice that the crowd is incredibly diverse: young, old, and in between; white, black, latino, and asian. It was amazing.
We began the meeting by announcing Obama's victory in Virginia and the crowd went nuts. Afterwards our fearless leader in Tarrant County, Mark Greene, addressed the crowd. He thanked everyone for coming and gave a brief history of the Obama grassroots movement in Tarrant County. Obama meetups started in November of 2006 with a whopping (LOL) 6 people. My how we've grown. He also acknowledged the candidates and Democratic clubs that showed up for the meeting (go Mid-Cities Dems!!!).
Next, our outgoing Democratic County Chair (who's on Team Hillary, more on that later), Art Brender, addressed the crowd. He discussed the caucus process and urged everyone to turn out and vote for Democrats all the way down the ballot.
Next, Rep. Lon Burnham addressed the crowd and endorsed Obama! Let me tell you a little something about Lon. He's my favorite Rep. He's a Quaker and a true advocate for peace. He marched with us in Crawford back in 2003 and was supporting Kucinich before he dropped. Lon spoke eloquently on behalf of Obama. He called him "the peace candidate" and I agree. In fact, speaking from Wisconsin the other night, Obama confirmed this when he spoke about "changing the mindset" that gets us into stupid wars.
We had a few other speakers, then Obama's staff was introduced. Team leader Hallie spoke to the crowd and basically told us that they are here to help us with whatever we need. By the end of the night she had a list of things to get for us, and I'll be meeting with her later today to go over our caucus/convention process.
Finally we adjourned the meeting, and people ate dinner and mingled with fellow Obama supporters. Oh oh, and I forgot to mention, at one point Mark asked the room how many people had never attended a precinct convention before. 3/4 of the room raised their hands! And every single one of them is planning on going to their precinct conventions this year.
I also want to pass along some interesting information I got from our County Chair, because he said I could quote him on this. Art told me that he'd originally ordered 80,000 paper ballots for our Democratic primary. He's now had to order an additional 80,000 ballots for Tarrant County due to the high level of interest. Also, there are three Senate Districts that convene in Tarrant County. Usually we have our conventions in one location. Art told me that this year he is having to find three separate locations for our SD conventions because we're expecting a flood of new people. This is fantastic news and bodes really well for our down-ballot candidates.
I also talked to him about super delegates. Art's been going to national conventions since 1972. He told me - paraphrasing here - that the superdelegates are NOT going to override the popular vote. He said that whomever is leading going into the convention is going to be our nominee, be that Hillary or Barack. So what that tells me is that we have to buckle down and work as hard as we can to garner as many delegates as possible. Last night Phillip @ BOR wrote a great post about how Obama could win the delegate count in Texas. I highly recommend you read his post.
Now for a few obligatory links. If you can help phone bank Texas - especially if you speak Spanish - go here. If you're in Tarrant County, sign up here. If you're not hooked into the Texas Obama movement, go here.
And finally, let me close with a bit of video from the rally. If you can't see a still image, go ahead and click it; the video works.
Now I've got to head out and get to my lab, after which I am going to buy a digital video recorder so I can capture larger videos (I shot the above with my digital camera), then I'm headed down to our Northside office to get to work. Thanks to all who made it through this post!