Penn Democrats kicked off their latest round of campaign work this week with a phone-banking event for Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s run for New Jersey’s open Senate seat.
The volunteers gathered in Huntsman Hall to make phone calls to New Jersey residents in support of Booker Wednesday night, making Penn one of the campaign’s “main locations for out-of-state voter contact,” Penn Dems President and College junior Matt Kalmans said.
Penn Dems also plans to send a group of 50 to 60 volunteers to Virginia later this month to campaign for gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.
The Booker campaign sent a representative to the event to work with students making calls. Many callers were freshmen, in one of their first opportunities to work with the group.
“We wanted to get them involved, get them some campaign experience,” said College sophomore Robert Klein, a senior member of Penn Dems’ campaign committee. Klein estimated that about 40 volunteers would turn out throughout the night.
While Booker leads his Republican opponent, Steve Lonegan, by double digits according to post polls, his lead is down from earlier this month, when many polls were reporting a 20-30 point spread between the candidates. The most recent poll, from Monmouth University, puts Booker ahead by 13.
“The Senate race is closer than we’d like it to be,” Kalmans said.
The Virginia volunteers will travel on the weekend of Oct. 26, and stay with D.C.-based chapters of College Democrats.
“I think all of us really enjoy campaigning out of state,” Kalmans said. “Obviously in this cycle we don’t have a really competitive race to contribute our efforts to, but we still have a whole bunch of students excited to turn a state that’s been red for a while blue.”
The group will “canvas” for the McAuliffe campaign, going door-to-door to interact with potential voters. A Washington Post-Abt SRBI poll published late last month gives McAuliffe a five-point lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli.
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