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College Democrats Celebrate Campaigning Work at Inauguration

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Members of the Ohio University College Democrats pose in Chinatown before attending the staff ball at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center Tuesday evening. Back row, left to right: Alex Doherty, Sam Ribeiro, and Nick Tuell. Front row, left to right: Brigid Iverson, Marika Bresler, and Shannon Welch. // SHFWire photo by Jess Miller

WASHINGTON – While most Ohio University student took classes fall semester, Nick Tuell, Alex Doherty and Marika Bresler had another duty: re-electing the president of the United States.

“The three of us who worked on the campaign had to take the semester off from school,” said Doherty, who began as a volunteer and worked his way up to full-time staff member of Obama for America.

As a result, six members of the College Democrats celebrated Obama’s re-election in Washington D.C. this week. They attended the swearing-in at the Capitol, and the next night, they partied with the president and Lady Gaga at the staff ball.

“The best part is being able to reconnect with our co-workers who we spent 80 plus hours a week working with and being able to see them and hang out with them on a non-stressful basis,” Tuell said.

Bresler said it felt good part of such a historic moment. The group was impressed by the president’s speech on Monday.

“We are what the news is about right now, and that’s really exciting. It’s not something that you get to do every day,” Bresler said.

Shannon Welch was enthusiastic to see some familiar faces as well.

“I’m really excited to be with people who worked as hard as I did, Welch said. “Everyone who cared as much as I did will be there.”

Brigid Iverson agreed.

“It’s nice to be around people who I know poured their heart and soul into it like we did,” she said. Iverson personally registered more than 500 people to vote in Athens County as an intern for Obama for America.

OFA, the campaign powerhouse that Obama can largely thank for his reelection, was the work of hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the country. In Ohio, the campaign was particularly successful in making sure that the Midwestern swing state, with its 18 Electoral College votes, all went to Obama.

Though Athens County, where OU is located, is mostly blue, the College Democrats and Obama for American had their work cut out for them.

“We worked anywhere from 60- to 80-plus hours a week working on the campaign,” Tuell said.

The OFA headquarters in Athens was staffed by Ohio University College Democrats, other students and Athens city officials. Staffers worked phone banks, registered hundreds of people to vote and canvassed the streets and campus dormitories, going door to door and talking to residents about why their votes should be for the Obama-Biden ticket.

In October, the OFA and College Democrats were mainly responsible for bringing Obama to OU’s campus. The rally, which included former Ohio governor Ted Strickland and Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl, drew more than 14,000 students and residents to hear the president’s speech.

Their hard work paid off.

“The celebration is why we’re here. If we didn’t work as hard as we did, we would not be here,” Doherty said.

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