Dems Open Party Office July 4, Gop Opens In August

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Having turned the corner past electing presidential nominees, the race is on to see which political party can mobilize more voters.

With the November finish line looming, Gila County area Democrats will officially open their headquarters -- on Beeline Highway and McKamey, marked by an "Obama for President" sign -- on July 3.

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Chris Tilley (left) and Myra Herbster wrap a ribbon around a pole at the Democratic Headquarters in Payson.

Their grand opening will last until July 6, with their "biggest day" July 4, according to Elaine Bohlmeyer, secretary of the Northern Gila County Democratic Club.

The day will feature a 12:30 p.m. ribbon cutting and a 2 p.m. live auction. Speakers will attend, though Bohlmeyer is not sure who yet.

She has great hopes for turning a traditionally red state blue. "We've had people stopping by the headquarters wanting information and Democratic buttons and T-shirts this week," she said. "We've got a lot of Democrats."

Headquarters features a lounge for Young Democrats -- 35 years and under -- a room with computers, tables and chairs, and a room decorated with campaign signs for those Democrats seeking state and county offices. The space makes speakers possible.

Area Democrats plan to host the candidates whose signs hang, allowing for vision expounding and hand shakes.

"Right now we're fund-raising to pay for this," said Chris Tilley, of the Northern Gila County Democratic Club. Twelve couples have volunteered to staff the headquarters during open hours -- Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Citizens can register to vote and find information on all Democrats running for office.

"We've got a big group of enthusiastic supporters," said Robert Hershberger, the first vice chair of the Gila County Democratic Party.

According to Charlotte Mortensen, chairman for Gila County Republicans, that party's headquarters will likely open Aug. 10.

"We usually get an office set up so that we can have signs and brochures," Mortensen said. "We consider it an important part of the election process."

The Democrat's headquarters phone number is (928) 478-1006.

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