Obamamania is now officially in Las Vegas.
On Saturday, Democrats opened an office for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on the Plaza.
During the opening of the Obama for President office, Martin Suazo, chairman of the San Miguel County party, said seeing and meeting candidates in person is expected.
“San Miguel County has been the beneficiary of five presidential candidate visits. We’ve had John Kerry, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Wesley Clark and Gov. Bill Richardson. Now it’s kind of an expected thing these days and says a lot about the people of the county and some of the events we’ve been able to put together. We’re working tirelessly to get Obama here, and if we can get the senator here, I think it will be the largest event we’ve seen in San Miguel County,” Suazo said.
Mayor Tony Marquez cut the ribbon to officially open Obama headquarters and said he would use his influence to get the candidate here.
“I’m committed to bring the next president of the United States to the city of Las Vegas to ask our citizens for his vote,” Marquez said.
Marquez is a registered Republican and received loud cheers when he told the crowd Obama was the best candidate in the race for the White House. He was a city councilman and among those who convinced the Kerry-Edwards campaign to make a whistle stop during the 2004 campaign, Democratic leaders said.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of bringing a candidate who’s running for the presidency to New Mexico, a state that has nominal but critical electoral votes,” Marquez said.
Obama supporter and campaign volunteer Jill Baskerville, who works at Highlands University, said she was excited and hopeful to see what many say is a red state turn very, very blue.
“When I go on the radio, go door to door or speak with someone on the telephone about voting for Barack Obama one of the things that always comes up is — is he going to come here and does he realize the state line doesn’t end at Santa Fe? I will continue to tell everybody and anybody to bring Obama here because this is the area in which he needs to speak to the hearts of this community,” she said.
“We’re rural, unique, rich in history, and I know the people will respect and admire that man and see a certain commonality with him and they will stand behind him as one of the strongest voting blocks in the nation and they will come out for him,” Baskerville said.
Baskerville said she’s been fearful the last eight years, but sees a candidate who will work across the aisle with Republicans and independents and will be a beacon on foreign policy and the world will respect us again.
“I’m concerned for my students and my community, which I love. How are we going to survive without a strong leader in the White House that has vision and is ready to take action?” Baskerville said.
Vince Howell said he’s supporting Obama because he likes his philosophy and spirit of change.
“He’s really creating something that we need in this country — this country just needs a change. I’ll tell you what my wife said, ‘He’s cute. That’s why I’m going to vote for him,’” Howell said with a laugh.
Loretta Martinez said she likes Obama on the issues, but more important, “We need to get that damn Bush out of there.”