With little more than two weeks remaining until election day, local representatives of both major political parties are gearing up to go full throttle with get-out-the-vote and visibility campaigns in Mashpee.
During the past two weeks, the Enterprise has attended meetings of the Mashpee Republican Town Committee and the Mashpee Democratic Town Committee as they enter the final stretch of what seems to have been a never-ending election season.
While the two groups have markedly different political philosophies, they are both small groups comprising highly-motivated members who are ready to do what it takes to help their party’s candidates, including standing at the Mashpee rotary waving at passersby, calling voters, or even donning a Big Bird costume to greet attendees at Town Meeting.
On Tuesday evening, the Republicans did not have a key to gain entrance to their usual meeting place at the Prime Center, so they spur of the moment moved the meeting down the road to an unlikely venue: Dino’s Sports Bar. Amidst the noise of a crowd watching the Major League Baseball playoffs, the group recited the Pledge of Allegiance and convened its meeting, which, at the outset, included several minutes spent admonishing the Enterprise for what it deemed misdirected coverage of Senator Scott P. Brown’s recent visit to Mashpee.
After it was determined that a letter to the editor would be sent to the paper, the group discussed an impressive roster of activities that it has planned for the next 17 days, including “standouts” with signage at high-traffic locations throughout town, working phone banks with peers from Hyannis to generate support for Senator Brown’s reelection bid, and making sure that all potential Brown voters are identified and make it to the polls. The committee also plans on having “poll watchers” in place at the Quashnet School to ensure that it gets as many Brown voters as possible to cast ballots.
The Mashpee Republican Town Committee also places a strong emphasis on building a pipeline of talent, by actively seeking to place members of its ranks on town committees and in elected town positions. Last May, two of its own, Joan N. Oliver and Phyllis A. Sprout, were elected to the Mashpee School Committee, joining fellow committee member Scott P. McGee.
Registration Jumps Before Election
With a close presidential election and a hotly-contested Senate race, Mashpee Town Clerk Deborah F. Dami is predicting that an unprecedented 92 percent of the town’s registered voters, or more than 9,200 people, will cast ballots at the Quashnet School on Tuesday, November 6.
As of yesterday, Ms. Dami reported that there are 10,620 registered voters, representing an increase of more than 500 new voters in the last year. The deadline to register to vote was Wednesday evening.
Democrats outnumber Republicans in town 2,626 to 1,721, while there are 6,195 unenrolled voters.
That breakdown has changed little over the past five years, though the percentage of Republican voters has increased slightly. The percentage of unenrolled voters has also inched upward.
Susan T. Belekewicz, a newcomer to politics who has served as chairman of the committee since last spring, said that she is working to build a strong organization and is pleased with the structure and people who are in place.
“We are very energized, but we are still Republicans in Massachusetts. The committee is doing all it can to reelect Senator Scott Brown, because he is at risk. Senator Brown is a strong, moderate candidate, but there is a possibility that he could be affected by the coattail of what is predicted to be a strong showing for President Obama in Massachusetts,” Ms. Belekewicz said.
In contrast, the Democrats, who last met on October 2 at the Mashpee Public Library, seemed just as intense as the Republicans to get their candidates elected, but appeared to be a bit less riled up.
Yvonne E. Courtney, who has served as co-chairman of the committee with Margaret A. Bent since last year, said the organization has seen an increase in interest due to the candidacy of Elizabeth Warren for the United States Senate. The Democrats will be using many of the same get-out-the-vote techniques in the coming days, including standouts, canvassing neighborhoods, and working the phone banks.
“We have not been as organized as the Republicans, but we are hoping that a candidate like Elizabeth Warren will get more people involved. With Elizabeth, we know where we stand with issues affecting women and seniors. This election will also determine what the makeup of the Supreme Court could look like for years to come,” Ms. Courtney said.
When asked if there was any tension between the town’s Republican and Democratic groups, Ms. Belekewicz said that she feels very strongly that everybody has their right to their own opinions. “After all is said and done, we are all Americans,” she said.