The Road to Victory

by Jeremy Pilaar, Field Director

For many of us, the past few months have been characterized by a whirlwind of campaign activity. Each Cal Dems member donated countless hours to forward progressive causes close to his or her heart, traveling to far-off districts to canvass for inspiring candidates, making hundreds of phone calls to reticent voters to get them out to the polls, and engaging with students on the Cal campus to register them to vote. Many of the candidates for whom we volunteered, such as Attorney General-Elect Kamala Harris and Congressman Jerry McNerney, won tight races decided by only a few thousand votes. As we look back on our accomplishments, our organization can be proud of the crucial work we undertook to keep California blue and to fight for a more just society.

The following is a chronological list of actions our group organized in the months preceding Election Day, November 2nd 2010. California bucked all trends in a year that saw the House of Representatives return to Republican hands: Democrats swept all 8 statewide offices, maintained a significant edge of 34-19 in the state’s 53-member U.S. House delegation, conserved a majority in the State Senate, and picked up two additional seats in the State Assembly. All ongoing proof that when young people vote, Democrats win!


Daily tabling and literature distribution on Sproul Plaza, every weekday 10am-2pm [more than 2500 pieces of campaign literature distributed]

Cal Dems participated as an active member of the ASUC Vote Coalition, helping register close to 5100 voters here on campus, including more than 2200 democrats

Target races (alphabetical order, by last name):

  • Ami Bera, United States House of Representatives [lost]
  • Barbara Boxer, United States Senate [won]
  • Jerry Brown, California Governor [won]
  • Joan Buchanan, California State Assembly [won]
  • Kamala Harris, California Attorney General [won]
  • Jerry McNerney, United States House of Representatives [won]
  • Gavin Newsom, California Lieutenant Governor [won]


Mid/End of Month: Online phone bank for State Senate candidate John Laird [General membership // more than 500 calls made]


9/9: Berkeley/Oakland Candidates Forum @ UC Berkeley

9/17: Cal Berkeley Democrats 2nd Annual Friends and Alumni Banquet

9/18: Berkeley Canvass for Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer [16 members // more than 600 doors knocked]

9/26: Invasion of AD15 for Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan [15 members // more than 550 doors knocked]


10/2: Phone bank for Ami Bera and Gubernatorial Debate-watching/pancake party [more than 400 calls made]

10/9: Voter Registration at Homecoming football game

10/12: Gubernatorial debate-watching party in partnership with the Institute for Governmental Studies (IGS), the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) and the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC)

10/14: Phone bank for Jerry Brown [600 calls made]

10/17: Invasion of CD11 for Congressman Jerry McNerney [13 members // more than 500 doors knocked] & rally with Bill Clinton [participated in CDP/OFA Phone bank that contacted over 30,000 voters in a single night]

10/23-24: Invasion of CD3 for Congressional candidate Ami Bera [29 members // more than 1200 doors knocked AND 1400 calls made]


Ongoing (10/29-11/1)

  • Invasion of CD11 for Congressman Jerry McNerney [10 members // more than 2500 doors knocked]

Friday 10/29

  • Rally with Gavin Newsom @ UC Berkeley Campus

Saturday 10/30

  • Invasion of AD15 for Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan [6 members // more than 300 doors knocked]

Sunday 10/31

  • “Trick or Vote” Berkeley canvass for the Democratic slate [15 members // more than 850 doors knocked]
  • Progressive Slate dorm storm [more than 3000 voter guides distributed in all 5 residence halls on campus]

Monday 11/1

  • Berkeley GOTV phone bank [more than 1300 calls made to students registered on the Cal campus by the ASUC Vote Coalition]

ELECTION DAY, Tuesday 11/2

  • Distribution of hundreds of voter guides to students headed to the polls
  • Polling location search service and Democratic slate-themed tent on Sproul Plaza from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Drove golf cart decorated in campaign signs around campus, reminding students to vote and distributing voter guides on the fly