Last week, I had the honor and pleasure to work with Michael Ansara on the Get Out The Vote effort for Obama in New Hampshire. Michael is not the Syrian-born American stage, screen, and voice actor best known for his portrayal of Cochise in the American television series Broken Arrow. He is however a poet, businessman, longtime friend, and advisor to EchoDitto.
It was an amazing experience and obviously had a very satisfying ending. I had engaged in a similar effort in 2000 down in Florida which had a much more sobering and depressing finale.
Michael sent out the following email to all of us who worked with him so I’m just going to share it with you as is:
First, it was such a delight working with each of you and all of you together. You did great work in New Hampshire. As you know Obama won New Hampshire and he won Hillsborough county: 101,499 votes for Obama vs. 98,103 for Romney. A winning margin of 3,396 – and you reminded some 900 of those to vote.
And as you know there was a historic sweep for women in New Hampshire on Tuesday: Maggie Hassan was elected Governor, our Congressional District elected Annie Kuster, and the other district elected Carol Shea Porter. In our part of the county, Peggy Gilmour defeated the Republican incumbent Jim Luther by 172 votes to return to the State Senate.
It turns out that we were badly needed in Hollis and Brookline – more than we knew. As you will remember well, we were talking only to targeted Obama supporters. So we could not see the support for Romney. It turns out that there was significantly more support in Hollis for Romney than there had been for McCain. In 2008, the Republican presidential candidate received 2,475 votes in Hollis. Romney received 2,785 this time.
Amazingly Hollis ended in a tie – 2,785 votes for Obama and 2,785 for Romney. Clearly without our work Romney would have taken Hollis. Equally clearly, turnout was significant up in Hollis this year. In 2008 there were 5,011 votes for the two; this year 5,570 – an increase of 559 voters – a remarkable increase of 11% in year where overall turn out was down from 2008.
In Brookline which Obama lost by 130 votes last election, the results were Obama 1,278 and Romney 1,623 – once again showing the increase in support for Romney in our area over the last election. Without our work that would have been an even greater margin for Romney. Would Obama have won New Hampshire if we had not done our work? Wrong question. Our small Hollis Staging Location was, as I kept telling everyone, one of 5,117 such staging locations in the swing states. We were a small part of a huge and successful effort to get out the vote and change the composition of the electorate. And it was huge and successful precisely because of the 5,117 small and large teams at work in the days before and the day of the election. All that work was essential – essential in Ohio, essential in Iowa and essential in New Hampshire. It only worked because it was truly the sum of its parts.
We were part of something much larger than any one of us and much larger than our whole team. We were a small part of a over 200,000 people who made sure that the electorate, while not as large as in 2008, was still even more diverse – younger votes made up the largest percentage ever, almost 19%, Latino voters crossed the 10% threshold for the first time ever, women made up just under 54% of the votes, African Americans were as high a percentage as in 2008 – and it was that changed electorate that put Barack Obama back in the White House... Definitely not our grandfather’s electorate!
I am so proud of our team and of you—the hard work at the last minute, the ease with which we worked together, the passion and commitment of those four days. Whether it was feeding people, cleaning the knock lists, or hitting the doors, everything we did was done well and effectively. It was a great privilege to work with you and be part of something so large, so historic, and so important.
All the very best Michael
Thank you to the entire team and especially Michael for making this happen and getting us all involved.