More than 120 Villagers packed a room set for 80 to attend an organizational meeting for Trump volunteers at the Bacall Recreation Center on Monday morning. Sumter County Campaign Manager Bill Garner led the meeting. In lieu of door-to-door campaigning and yard signs, plans are underway for golf cart parades, sign wavings and meet-and-greets at the mailboxes.
Another tact being used by Fred Coenen is to set up a table at the Market of Marion.
“To some extent we are preaching to the choir when we campaign in The Villages,” said Coenen.
He and Howard Grabelle, father of recent candidate for U.S. Congress Justin Grabelle, both long-time volunteers for republican causes, have enjoyed talking about Trump to a more diverse crowd. Their set-up includes a life-size cardboard likeness of Trump.
“That really helps bring over the younger people, they like to take pictures with Trump,” said Coenen.
He or Grabelle man the booth every Saturday.
“I have been pleasantly surprised at how many young people are supporting Trump,” said Coenen.
Along with long-time election volunteers were some folks new to the process. Mallory Square residents Helga and David Larson are volunteering in a campaign for the first time. When asked what brought them out to volunteer the answer in a word was Hillary.
“Our country is so divided, we don’t need another political ideologue,” said David Larson. “Trump is successful because he surrounds himself with talent.” On the Hillary front he continued, “When is there going to be outrage at corruptness, at the lies about lying? Hillary insults the intelligence of every American.”
Garner strongly encouraged volunteers to chat people up at the mailboxes. He identified the three categories of people volunteers will encounter: the already for Trump, the never-Trumpers and the all-important undecided voter. According to Garner’s record during the primaries in Sumter County 462 registered democrats changed their party affiliation to republican and 761 registered independents did the same. Garner told the group the most critical issue for volunteers is to work on converting Democrats and Independents to vote for Trump.
One large golf cart parade is scheduled for Nov. 4. Villager Dale Kennedy suggested several mini-parades before that time to pump up the excitement.
“All the negative ads seem to have dampened the energy and support for Trump is lagging,” said Kennedy.
She feels people need to remain excited so that they will come out and vote. Kennedy started volunteering for presidential campaigns recently; the last election was her first one. She thoroughly researched all the republican candidates and became a Trump supporter early-on, “This is the man who can straighten this country out. We need a business man and a person who truly loves America.”
If you are interested in participating in the mini-parades Kennedy can be reached at email@example.com.
Another suggestion to volunteers was to wear shirts and/or buttons as often as possible.
Village of Palo Alto resident Stan Swies an ardent volunteer has attended four Trump rallies. He says he and his wife go out almost every night and he wears at least a pin if not a shirt. “It is a real conversation starter. The other night a young man and I got in to a conversation. He said he was undecided. I gave him $10 and told him to go see the movie ‘Hillary’s America,'” said Swies. “I have that same offer on my Facebook page, I encourage all my friends and family to see the movie, if they don’t get something out of the movie, I tell them to send me the movie stubs and I will reimburse them. So far no stubs.”
If you would like more information about being a volunteer for the trump campaign you can contact Bill Garner at firstname.lastname@example.org or attend the next meeting on Monday, Sept. 19 at 9:30 am at Bacall Recreation Center.