I'm just now starting to catch my breath, nearly three weeks after the election. Sarasota County was certainly at the center of this national election, playing host to a diverse array of elected and former elected officials, guests, events and activities.
The last few weeks of the election alone brought visits from Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Governor Jack Markell of Delaware, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), former Florida governors Charlie Crist and Bob Graham and Vice President Joe Biden. This is in addition to the other elected officials who came through Sarasota County during the course of the election, including DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD ), Kasim Reed (Mayor of Atlanta) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland).
In addition to the visits from elected officials, we also hosted a wide range of media professionals, activists and celebrities in Sarasota, including Cynthia Nixon, Anita Dunn, Sandra Fluke, Lucie Arnaz, Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood, Emily’s list founder Ellen Moran and current president Stephanie Schriock, and Nadine Smith of Equality Florida. And as you know, money talks in politics, which is why I served on four host committees for Senator Bill Nelson (FL), six host committees for FL-16 congressional candidate Keith Fitzgerald and one for First Lady Michelle Obama.
Other election season highlights included serving as the Florida delegation whip at the Democratic National Convention, along with appearing on ABC 7’s Black Almanac, radio shows on La Nueva Radio, WSRQ and WSLR, and as a guest panelist several times on WEDU’s Florida This Week, including the regional Emmy Award-nominated presidential primary episode.
However, I'm most proud of working with the more than 1,800 volunteers who gave so much time and effort toward this election in Sarasota County. We worked in lock step with Organizing for America’s data-driven operation. Almost all of our office and precinct captain phone banking was done via computer. We consistently logged over 6,000 phone calls per day over four weeks. And our aggressive Vote By Mail campaign paid off as we increased requested ballots by 28% and had an 89% return rate.
Though this election is done, the political activity won't stop. I'll be sure to update you in December, when I serve as one of Florida's 29 electors in the Electoral College, and again in January, when I head to Washington for the inauguration, so please stay tuned. Until then, thanks for joining me for all the ups and downs of the 2012 election here in Florida!