It was no surprise that Barack Obama won a near-unanimous majority of the votes casts at Saturday's Ada County Democratic Presidential Caucus. With no competition coming from within the Democratic Party, some might have viewed the caucus as pointless. But among the people who couldn't disagree more were the numerous volunteers overseeing the event.
“This caucus is still important just to be able to re-energize and remind people of the turnout and dedication back in 2008 for Obama,” said volunteer Steven Mercado. “We were one of the top [caucuses] in the nation to make phone calls outside of Idaho to be able to help out with the votes.”
After a quick affirmation for Obama as the party's standard bearer, delegates were chosen to represent Ada County at the Democratic State Convention, an affair that Mercado is quite familiar with. Following the 2008 convention, Mercado was one of 23 Idaho Democrats selected to cast a vote for Obama at the party's national convention in Denver.
“I was an intern for the Obama campaign, and when I moved to Twin Falls, I helped build up the momentum for the caucus there,” said Mercado. “At that caucus, I got elected to go to the state convention and moved on to the national.”
Mercado conceded that the hype at the Ada County caucus couldn't compare to the 2008 national convention.
“I got to meet Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle, and she gave me a kiss on the check at the convention,” Mercado recalled. “I got to rub shoulders with Joe Biden, the vice president now. I got to meet Michelle’ Obama's brother, [Nevada Sen.] Harry Reid and a whole bunch of people at the convention.”
But Mercada still appreciates the value of local and regional events.
“In the state convention, you pretty much map out the whole platform,” Mercado explained. “So every single delegate that gets elected at this caucus and other caucuses across the United States are going to take part in shaping the platform for the party."