Friday, February 8, 2008

Sharon Caliendo: Great Political Operative

This weekend I'll be writing about Sharon Caliendo, a political activist in Oklahoma. She was an important figure in Tom Coburn's winning a U.S. Senate race. Coburn was the man who introduced John McCain at last Thursday's CPAC meeting in DC.

For candidates to win in statewide or national races, they need people like Sharon. She (along with Greg Alterton) founded the Rudy Giuliani site on Yahoo, and when Mayor Giuliani left the race, Sharon and Greg changed the group to: Rudy Supporters for John McCain. It remains one of the largest groups on Yahoo.

Here's what Sharon wrote about her experience in the Coburn campaign.

"It was the largest grassroots effort ever in the State of Oklahoma, and we did it from the ground up in every county. Then a State GOP Chair was elected that didn't believe in the grassroots and they lost that large coalition of Republicans that worked to elect Dr. Tom. Office holders were behind another candidate in the primary including enlisting help from the WH but Dr. Tom prevailed. The other candidate had a mailer with Pres Bush they sent out in the primary. Never had seen that before."

"Know this is looking ahead but we need people passing out McCain stickers at every major conference football game this fall. We have 85,000 in the stands and another 10,000 milling around at every home game here in Norman for the University of Oklahoma. Lot of Texans come up for our games. We need to get those college CR's around the Country involved so we can get them passing out stickers. We have a Senate race and my hope is to tap into that to get some Inhofe/McCain/? shirts for both OU in crimson and OSU in Orange. OSU only has about 40,000 at their games but we can still tap into them as well. Our largest donors to the GOP in OK are also donors to OU and OSU"

"We could do it around the Country!"


Here's how I responded to her:

Sharon, I'm going to reprint your piece (on my blog) about your working for the election of Dr. Tom. I hope everyone who has a blog will do the same thing. There are ways people can magnify their efforts on behalf of a candidate, and you demonstrate exactly how it's done. It's critical for McCain to go out and "engage" with other voters. John McCain has never lost an election, and with the help of people like you, he'll keep that perfrect record in 2008.

Stephen R. Maloney

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