15 October 2007

Time to Come to the Aid of Your Party - Jim Ogonowski - Beating the Odds?

With less than 24 hours to go, Republican Jim Ogonowski, a farmer and 21-year Air Force veteran, is poised for an upset in the special Congressional district race against Democrat Niki Tsongas, the widow of former U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate Paul Tsongas.

Tsongas, who moved back into the Fifth Congressional District from Boston when the seat became open unexpectedly, has spent $2 million to Ogonowski's $400,000. She brought in Bill Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and of course, Ted Kennedy to prop her up. The special interest groups, unions, Emily's List and every liberal organization know to man has brought the heat.

Yet Ogonowski kept plugging along and a recent poll showed him within the margin of error. A good turnout operation, some luck and Republicans could have another Congressman from the Northeast.

Ogonowski is a genial man, expansive, fun and he is enjoying the fight. Ogonowksi's brother was the pilot for United Flight 11 on that fateful day in 2001. His wife, Kathy, rides the phone bank, calling voters cold in some cases to make her personal pitch. Volunteers from around New England have been pouring in to offer some help in the field, cramming into a second-story headquarters in the scenic town of Chelmsford, a small town near the heart of the district - the communities around Lowell.

The energy is contagious and the Democrats are feeling it. Yesterday, Niki Tsongas put her foot in it Sunday - saying that illegal aliens should be permitted to have driver's licenses. Tsongas has been backpeddling, saying she supported all of the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission. Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Peter Torkleson printed a copy of 9-11 report and had it hand delivered to Tsongas' campaign office.

Democrats are panicking. House Majority Leader Steney Hoyer has sent staffers from numerous Congressional offices to Lowell and other organizations are deploying more bodies as well. Still Ogonowski remains upbeat. He has been working 20 hours days, lost two suit sizes and grabs cat naps on a roll out cot, often in the middle of his swirling campaign staff who have to whisper around him.

Any Republican within two hours of Lowell is invited to help. The Ogonowski Headquarters is located at 47 Chelmsford Street, Chelmsford. Call 978-269-5080 for directions. Time to come to the aid of your party.