Republican challenger Ricky Gill joined his supporters in phone-banking, while Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, walked door-to-door with his son on Monday afternoon — both in a final push to woo potential voters before Election Day.
Representatives for McNerney and Gill both say their candidates are confident in their chances today, but are still pushing through until this evening.
McNerney held a campaign rally featuring MC Hammer on Monday and knocked on doors with his son, Mike, during every other spare minute of the day, spokeswoman Lauren Smith said.
“He believes in what he is doing and wants to keep making a difference for the people in the area he has represented for the last six years,” Smith said. “So down to the last minute, he’ll be working to the bone.”
Gill joined volunteers at his headquarters on Monday making phone calls and heading out to knock on doors.
“We are confident in the campaign we have built and we are sticking to the plan,” spokesman Colin Hunter said. “We have a ton of volunteers out knocking on doors the last couple of weeks and making calls. Ricky has matched their efforts with his own.”
Over the last several months, the McNerney and Gill campaigns have run media blitzes with the millions of dollars they have raised. As of Oct. 17, McNerney had received $2.2 million in contributions, while Gill had raised $2.6 million, according to the Federal Election Commission website. The totals include contributions from the political action committees, transfers from other authorized committees and loans.
But during the final days, the key is getting volunteers and the candidates to personally connect with voters. The campaigns both touted the positive messages they have heard from voters recently.
McNerney is treating
canvassing as a full-time job and is focused on encouraging people to get to the polls, Smith said.
“He said to me last night after canvassing that the energy and the support he feels from the community is really amazing,” Smith said. “He’s feeling really good about it.”
Gill’s campaign has focused on independent voters and telling them why Gill is the best choice, Hunter said.
“We know we can win this election. We know we have a path to victory. ... I feel like we really have the momentum in this race and our opponent realized, maybe too late, that we are picking up steam,” he said.
Both campaigns said volunteers are inspired by the commitment of the candidates and their ability to handle the stress and long hours.
Even though it is nearing the end of a long campaign season, Smith said McNerney continues to be energetic and ready to meet voters. His campaign scheduled several hours of downtime for him this weekend, but he decided to use it to knock on doors in Lodi.
“It really helps to motivate his volunteers and staff,” Smith said. “There’s that moment when you want to go home, but then you see a sitting congressman say, ‘This is too important, I believe in this too much,’ and you say, ‘OK, I can stay another hour.’”
For Gill, his staff and his volunteers, it means that the sleep deprivation they have experienced the last few months as they focus on getting him elected will continue a little while longer.
“You can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so it gives you enough energy to keep pushing and reach the finish line,” Gill said.