Political parties focus on election day turnoutWritten by John Seewer (AP) | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteers and big name politicians made one last push over the weekend in Ohio to encourage voters to come out on Election Day ahead of what are sure to be tight races for governor and several crucial congressional seats.
President Barack Obama and hip-hop artist Common joined a rally in Cleveland Oct. 31 for Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland. Obama said he felt good about Democrats’ chances if their supporters turned out in large numbers Tuesday.
Strickland’s opponent, Republican John Kasich, walked door-to-door Oct. 31 in his hometown of Westerville in suburban Columbus before attending a rally there.
A poll released Oct. 31 by the Columbus Dispatch showed the two are about even leading up to Tuesday’s election. Former President Bill Clinton canvassed the state with Strickland on Saturday.
Ohio congressman John Boehner, in line to become the new speaker if Republicans take the House, traveled to all corners of the state to campaign with Republicans who are trying to unseat incumbent House Democrats.
“Keep making your phone calls, keep knocking on doors,” he reminded supporters in Lima.
David Fornshell, chairman of the Warren County Republican Party, a southwest Ohio GOP stronghold, said turnout will be the key and urged volunteers to contact 10 people.
“Harass them, telephone them, e-mail them, go pick them up and take them to the polls,” he said.
Lori Viars, a Republican activist in Warren County, said in an interview she’s sending e-mails, making phone calls, “doing everything we can to get out the vote. We’re running up the score here to beat Cuyahoga County.”
In heavily Democratic Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, Mike Gillis, an AFL-CIO spokesman said the final weekend of staffing phone banks and contacting voters door-to-door and at factory gates can make a difference.
“It’s important that our members who are primarily working class folks hear from their peers about the issues that are most important in this election,” he said.
He said organized labor’s weekend work in northeast Ohio was aimed at tightly contested races involving incumbent Democratic Reps. Betty Sutton in the Akron-Lorain area and John Boccieri in the Canton region.
Congressional Democrats Steve Driehaus, Mary Jo Kilroy, Zack Space, and Charlie Wilson, also face tough races.
Associated Press writers Dan Sewell in Cincinnati and Thomas J. Sheeran in Cleveland, contributed to this story.