Volunteers kick Bera’s Congressional race into high gear

Much has been said and written about a perceived enthusiasm deficit amongst among Democratic candidates and the party as the 2010 mid-term ...

Much has been said and written about a perceived enthusiasm deficit amongst among Democratic candidates and the party as the 2010 mid-term elections quickly approach.
Bera volunteer and U.C. Davis student Irtqa Ilyas

If such a gap does in fact exist, a visit to the Elk Grove, Calif. campaign headquarters of Dr. Ami Bera would quickly dissipate that notion.

Democratic Bera, a medical doctor and political newcomer is challenging veteran politician Republican Dan Lungren for the right to serve as the Congressional Representative for California’s Third District.

Bera, who has consistently out-performed Lungren in fundraising since entering the race, hopes this combined with a strong core of volunteers will be the difference in a race that has drawn national attention and has strong political implications.

A visit to Bera’s Elk Grove campaign offices on Tuesday afternoon found dozens of volunteers hunched over computers and making phone calls on cell phones and landlines seeking voter support for Bera. The volunteers ranged from senior citizens to college students who all seemed to be focused and committed.

Volunteer Orlando Fuentes of Elk Grove said he was motivated to makes calls because Bera represents a real opportunity to elect someone who is more reflective of the district. “He [Lungren] is way too conservative,” Fuentes said.

Volunteer Orlando Fuentes says Lungren is too conservative
When asked how many calls he made this day, Fuentes said over 100. Another volunteer Jim Byard said he made 160 calls, but good-naturedly added that Fuentes did his in less time. “He’s a lot quicker,” Byard quipped.

While Fuentes and Byard represented the older segment of volunteers, one of the several young volunteers was 18-year old Irtqa Ilyas of Elk Grove. A 2010 graduate of Elk Grove’s Laguna Creek High School, the human development and pre-med student at U.C. Davis said she became interested in volunteering last spring after she helped organize a presentation by Bera at Laguna Creek as part of her advanced-placement government class.

“Dr. Bera is really genuine,” Ilyas said. When asked about her opportunity to vote in November, Ilyas said she “was very excited.”

Along with his Elk Grove campaign headquarters, Bera also has a Carmichael, Calif. office that is staffed with dozens of volunteers. Bera said the campaign has over 2,800 volunteers working seven days a week and have made close to 300,000 contacts via phone or precinct walks.

“That’s the best part of this campaign and the most humbling part,” Bera said of the campaign’s volunteers. “The level of enthusiasm continues to grow every day.”

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