NORTH ADAMS -- Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren put their campaigns in overdrive this weekend, but only one was running operations in the city.
While their candidate rallied at Braintree High School on Sunday with Sen. John Kerry, city Democrats organized neighborhood canvassing and phone bank operations on behalf of Warren from 14 Ashland St., the North Adams Democratic City Committee headquarters.
Democratic City Committee Chairman Greg Roach said the efforts of this weekend's volunteers surpassed even that of the group who took part in 2004's push, when Kerry's bid for the presidency saw volunteers working at fever pitch on an ultimately unsuccessful effort to oust incumbent President George W. Bush.
"I've been doing campaigns for two decades, and this is by far the most organized and focused effort I've seen," Roach said.
Canvassers filed in and out of the office in minutes, coordinated by organizer Ed Sedarbaum.
Some southern Vermont residents, without a close Senate race of their own to participate in, traveled south to canvas the city for Warren. State Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, who visited the headquarters Sunday afternoon, reported similar volunteering by New Yorkers in Pittsfield. Their action spoke to recent pronouncements by Warren and Kerry that this race, the nation's most expensive and among its most closely watched, could be for control of the Senate.
Sedarbaum reported that canvassers for Warren's campaign had reached the doorsteps of over 123,000 commonwealth residents with their candidate's message of middle class and consumer protection Saturday, a figure confirmed by Warren's Twitter feed. Sedarbaum said it was a state record.
The headquarters' other volunteers manned the phones in three-hour shifts Sunday, using a progressive-aligned program called HubDialer that allows for maximum phone calls by a predictive-dialing algorithm.
Nick Edwards, a Williams town native, recently returned from a stay in Mozambique with the Peace Corps, headed up the phone operation.
"[The local campaign] is a synthesis of experience and youth," Edwards said. "We're a collaboration between people who've been in local politics for longer than I've been alive and young people who know how to work all the high-tech stuff."
Joyce Wrend was among the phone bankers, a former North Adams City Councilor who marveled at the program's speed.
"I don't know where we picked Nick up, but he's a godsend," she said.
These and similar statewide efforts have seven of eight recent polls showing Warren with a lead over Brown of between two and seven percentage points, the Boston Globe reports.
Brown rallied Sunday at Faneuil Hall with former Massachusetts Republican Gov. William Weld. According to the Associated Press, the Senator focused on unemployment, stagnant GDP growth and what he identifies as overspending and overtaxing problems, while pitching himself as a bipartisan choice.
Efforts to reach the Berkshire County Republican Associ ation's campaign office in Pittsfield and Brown's campaign office in Boston for comment Sunday were unsuccessful.