Kerry/Edwards campaign headquarters holds opening

September 30, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

The state field director for Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign was to begin a speech before nearly three dozen supporters inside a West Washington Street office just after 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Instead, he led a loud, enthusiastic group to the streets in an attempt to garner attention and rally support from passing motorists for the Kerry campaign.

The group took to the streets as the Washington County Kerry/Edwards Headquarters opened its office at 15 W. Washington St. during a two-hour event Wednesday.


At about 5:15 p.m., Dan Rupli, state field director and coordinator for the 6th Congressional District for the Kerry/Edwards campaign, grabbed signs, stood a couple of feet from passing cars and rallied support from motorists, delaying his scheduled speech by more than one hour.

Most of those on hand followed him out the door.

The group drew mostly positive responses from those passing during rush hour. Some clapped, some gave thumbs-up signals and some drivers stopped to get free bumper stickers.

A few motorists opted to taunt the Kerry supporters, yelling, "Bush is the man," among other things.

"I'd rather have this kind of event every time - They (volunteers) can hear me talk any time they want," Rupli said.

Ed Branthaven, a member of the Washington County Democratic Central Committee, said he was surprised by the impromptu street demonstration.

"We're having a great evening and getting a favorable response," he said. "We're just like McDonald's, 'We're lovin' it.'"

Rupli said several of the volunteers who attended are against President Bush and not completely convinced Kerry would make a great president.

"That describes a substantial number of people that get involved in the campaign," he said.

Phil Young, of Hagerstown, said he signed on to volunteer several days a month because he believes the country needs a president who does not "act like John Wayne." Young's daughter also volunteers on weekends.

"Even though I'm not old enough to vote, I feel like I should do my part," said Jennifer Young, 16.

The commotion surprised several area residents who were waiting nearby for a bus.

"I think it's cool. If I weren't waiting for a bus, I'd be right out there with them," Briana Deubel, of Hagerstown, said just before picking up a Kerry/Edwards lawn sign from the office.

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