Garden State Democrats rally behind Obama
With the general election less than two months away, New Jersey’s LGBT Democrats continue to rally behind Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
Garden State Equality sponsored a free campaign training session at Montclair State University on Sept. 14 alongside the BlueWaveNJ political action committee and the New Jersey Democratic State Committee to support both Obama and local Democratic Congressional candidates.
The event included instruction on how to actively engage New Jersey voters with the coming election through field mobilization efforts, voter outreach and registration and absentee ballot promotion, media messaging and blogs. More than 600 people attended, and GSE chair Steven Goldstein described the event as a "thrilling" demonstration of the grassroots support he feels exists for Obama in New Jersey.
Goldstein added his organization will continue to play an active role in efforts to organize the state’s LGBT voters.
"Garden State Equality is leading Obama’s LGBT community outreach efforts in New Jersey," he said. "We are really giving this presidential campaign our all."
Goldstein further applauded Blue Wave, state Democrats and other progressive groups with which GSE has partnered.
"The success of any civil rights movement in the country is getting allies in great numbers to support your cause," he said.
Even though LGBT Democrats in New Jersey appear solidly behind Obama, many New Jersey politicos and activists initially endorsed New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. Barbra Casbar-Siperstein, president of New Jersey Stonewall Democrats, conceded the former First Lady’s decision to end her campaign was a bitter pill for many to swallow. She remains confident, however, the party has unified behind Obama.
"Indeed there was disappointment by many that [the nomination didn’t go to] Hillary, and there was a healing period, but we’ve all come together." Siperstein said.
Siperstein added she feels Obama’s stance on LGBT issues have always mirrored those of the Clintons-and even conceded they are stronger in some areas. She further speculated more voters will head to the polls this November once they understand how Obama differs from Republican rival John McCain.
The campaign continues to look to GSE to spearhead its LGBT efforts in New Jersey. The latest poll numbers indicate Obama maintains a slim lead against McCain, but Goldstein stressed they remain too close for comfort.
"New Jersey has generally voted blue in the last few elections, but we want to make sure we’re doing everything to support our candidates," he said. "We take nothing for granted and campaign hard no matter what."