Organizers for ‘viral’ Obama rally expected anywhere from 500 to 5,000, but final crowd sparse
Nearly 150 supporters of democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and a few curious onlookers gathered at an impromptu Saturday morning campaign rally in Marina Park.
Speaking from a theme of “One voice for change,” State Rep. Larry Springer, D-Kirkland, thanked the audience for attending an event many had only heard about from e-mails sent a day or two before.
“(Obama campaign volunteer Kimbra Martin) called me up and asked, what should we do?” Springer said. “I said, Why not Kirkland? It’s about time Kirkland took it’s rightful place on the world stage.”
An e-mail distributed through Obama supporters started: “Be a part of history! Plan to attend Saturday’s rally for Barack Obama. Kirkland is the site for Western Washington’s participation in the internationally synchronized ‘One Voice for Change’ rally in support of our candidate! … The Kirkland event is synchronized with simultaneous rallies in Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Rome, Atlanta, Vienna, Colorado Springs, Spokane and many others.”
Springer and Martin confirmed the rally was part of a synchronized event in cities nationally and worldwide.
“Our voices created a nation where our voices create change,” said Abbot Smith, an Obama delegate from the 45th legislative district. “All across the world we’re gathering … and our voices are best heard as it rises in a chorus.”
The event also featured Overlake High Senior Ornella Bardinelli, Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, and Kirkland resident Joe Bergevin, who co-wrote a song for the Obama campaign. Lending a festive atmosphere, Greater Light Church of Tukwila member Samuel Hackett performed a series of gospel-inspired
songs and implored the crowd to sing and clap along.
On a humorous note, Springer and Goodman blamed Gov. Christine Gregoire’s absence (she was expected to attend) on the Dalai Lama’s visit to the Puget Sound, and Goodman rushed off for an “audience” with the Tibetan leader. Standing along the promenade, local business-owner Dennis Brown wasn’t impressed.
“That’s a little insulting,” he said. “Giving his support to Obama but then rushing off to see the Dalai Lama? I mean, I realize he’s a politician and can’t be everywhere at once, but …”
Nearby, Redmond resident Rita Margolies, 67, was holding a large “WA Loves (heart) Obama” banner on Central Way as motorists honked support. She came out, she said, because she felt Obama was a candidate who would try to look after all citizens, “not just the fat cats.”
A number of volunteers also took the occasion to engage in a bit of fundraising. One of them, 35-year-old Paul Anthony, sold baby clothing and toddler T-shirts emblazoned with a smiling Obama. One T-shirt read, “Baby got Barack.”
“We’re geared for a younger generation,” Anthony said. “We wanna try to make that change and actually get younger voters to step up this election, unlike the last election.”
Obama tops Clinton in local caucuses
Democratic Party Presidential hopeful Barack Obama added to his tally of delegates in area caucuses held Saturday, April 5.
Kirkland voters headed to Democratic Party caucuses representing the 45th and 48th legislative districts. The caucuses were the second stage of a three-stage delegate selection process.
From their meeting at Juanita High School, the 45th Legislative District Democrats — from north Kirkland neighborhoods and other cities — selected 33 delegates to represent Barack Obama and 12 delegates to Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, at Interlake High School in Bellevue, the 48th Legislative District Democrats — representing south Kirkland neighborhoods and other cities — selected 30 delegates for Obama and 11 for Clinton.
Based on the number of delegates elected at the precinct level in February, the results reflect a gain of one Legislative District delegate from each caucus over what had been projected.
“It just represents the fact that the Clinton delegates had a slightly lower turnout than the Obama delegates did,” said 45th Legislative District Democratic Chair Martin Chaney. According to him, well over 1,000 people attended the caucus. The small gains for Obama could result in another delegate at the national level.
The next phase of selecting delegates is May 17 when Congressional District Caucuses are held to choose 51 delegates for the Democratic National Convention. Kirkland is almost entirely within the 1st Congressional District, with the southern end of Kirkland represented by the 8th.