This is one of a series of reports by members of a University of Washington journalism class taught by professor David Domke. The students have been covering the presidential race in Washington, Idaho, and Texas. For more coverage by the class, go to their blog, Seattlepoliticore.org
Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Arizona, Washington and Texas. He's seen it all.
John West, a Seattleite, has traveled far and wide to volunteer for Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign.
"Health care, first and foremost," West stated when asked where his enthusiasm for Clinton stems from.
West explained that as a small business owner in Seattle, he is at the point where he can't compete for the insurance he needs. "Hillary will provide that insurance, through her plan."
West went on to express gratitude for Clinton in the work she did in New York after 9/11. "My sister lives in Brooklyn, and her husband is a firefighter," West explained. He talked of the respiratory problems his brother-in-law had after 9/11, and how Clinton stepped up and took care of many health-insurance obstacles for those whose health was affected by the fallout on that tragic day.
"She acted presidential in such a situation."
In his experience, the differences between the Washington campaigns and the Texas campaigns are vast because of the Washington caucus system.
"There was no reason to waste money on caucusing for Hillary," he said with a tone of annoyance. He said that the caucus system, with a fairly large time commitment and small arrival window time, doesn't favor the key demographics for Clinton, those of an older age and with jobs and families.
The system leaves "a whole population excluded," West argued, saying that the primary system was "so much more convenient."
The volunteer efforts in Texas are "intense" in comparison to other states, West noted.
"I've never seen this much intensity and positive energy at a campaign."
As has been seen throughout the campaign, many people tend to make the argument for Obama based upon his charisma and his relatable personality. The same argument isn't made often for Clinton. Who else could shed a rare tear (in New Hampshire, if you remember) and have it make the news worldwide?
West spoke passionately on behalf of Clinton and the image she portrays. "I've been to about 20 events, and when you are at a town hall meeting, you see how personable she is. She's very solutions-oriented, which to me, as a voter, makes her relatable."
Though West agreed it's a tight race, he's not nervous. He believes the effort he's put into so many states, and so many different Clinton campaign offices, will pay off.
"I wake up at 6 a.m. to volunteer, and smell victory," he said with a motivated smile.