STAMFORD, Conn. — From nearly 1,000 miles away, Bernie Sanders supporter Nina Sherwood of Stamford helped Iowans "feel the bern."
In the days and weeks before Monday’s Iowa caucus, Sherwood worked the phones from Connecticut, looking for voters willing to caucus for her rising underdog candidate and identifying undecided voters.
Sherwood used the calls to collect information — not to convince voters. If Sherwood determined that a voter was undecided, she would pass that information to the campaign in Iowa.
“The campaign (would) actually send a human being to their house to knock on their door and talk to them face to face about Bernie Sanders,” Sherwood said. “Nobody wants to be haggled on the phone about who they're going to vote for to a stranger they have never seen the face of."
These efforts undoubtedly helped drum up enough delegate votes for the anti-establishment Sanders, a Vermont senator, to run neck-and-neck with Hillary Clinton, a household name as first lady, senator and secretary of state.
Even a few votes profoundly affected the campaigns as Clinton ultimately edged out Sanders by a vote of only "one state delegate equivalent" in the Democratic caucus.
Sherwood is no stranger to campaigns — or voter outreach. She worked phone banks for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, which did not have the sophisticated software the Sanders campaign now uses.
When Sherwood cold-called voters for Obama, only two or three callers picked up for every 10 numbers she dialed. This year, the Sanders campaign enlisted volunteers in Iowa who dialed numbers off a list and patched the call through to Sherwood when someone picked up.
Sherwood also said she plans to train supporters on how to use a sophisticated software package that allows volunteers to reach out to voters by text message.
But in New Hampshire, Sherwood and her team of local Sanders supporters plans to reach out to voters the old-school way — in person. They plan to travel to New Hampshire this weekend — as they did last weekend — to help drum up support for Sanders in the state before its Feb. 9 primary.
An ardent and enthusiastic Sanders supporter, Sherwood believes that the enthusiasm of Sanders supporters will trump the power of money in this year’s election.
“He can really really win,” Sherwood said of Sanders. “He doesn’t have all the money in the world, but he’s got the people.”
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