As the dust settles from the furor of nominations and vice presidential picks, how are local politicos feeling about the November elections?
Judy Link, head of the San Ramon Valley Democratic Party, said she feels things are looking very good for November. "We were ecstatic and pleased with the Democratic convention. And we really like the (Obama/Biden) ticket."
Link initially supported Hillary Clinton for president and voted for her in the primary, but with the nomination going to Barack Obama she said he has her full support. "I loved Obama, too, so it wasn't hard to switch. I think Hillary would have been a good pick. I'm sure she'll do great things. We need her energy and her intelligence."
When asked about support for an Obama/Clinton ticket, Link said it wasn't the right time for that and would have worked against the Democrats in the long run. "Picking her would have mobilized the Christian right. So many people hated the Clintons, the Republicans would have gained ground by having the Clintons involved."
She added that not having Hillary Clinton on the ticket does not mean disenfranchised Clinton supporters will be massing behind Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. "There's no comparison between Hillary and Sarah. They're total opposites. I can't believe the Republicans think they can substitute one woman over another. The California women are incensed over this."
Contra Costa County GOP Executive Director Mike Caparusso disagrees. "Gov. Palin's story resonated well with the average American, Republican or Democrat. Starting out at the PTA level and working her way into the governor's office. She's not your traditional politician, not a Washington insider."
Caparusso said excitement was building among the local Republicans even before the nomination was announced. "We had convention watching parties all throughout Contra Costa County. We wanted to hear what Sen. McCain had to say. And the announcement of Gov. Palin on the ticket just energized our base."
Many local Republicans support the choice of Palin not only because of her relatability, but also because she appeals to their sense of values. "Politically she lines up well with some of our values-oriented Republicans and renewed their excitement about the ticket," Caparusso said.
He added, "The other reason I think people like her is she draws a clear contrast between the McCain and Obama campaigns."
One area of difference he feels is important is national security. "We feel the McCain party provides the correct point of view to deal with threats both abroad and at home."
While much of the buzz coming out of the conventions has been about Sarah Palin, Caporusso said he does not feel she's taking the spotlight away from the presidential candidate. "The base is energized, absolutely, but has that overshadowed Sen. McCain? No, not a bit. She's brought more attention to the candidate. The ratings got a big bump when Gov. Palin spoke to the convention, but when Sen. McCain spoke the next night, it was even higher."
Both parties say change and reform will be keywords in the weeks ahead. Both also reported an influx of supporters and campaign donations since the conventions.