On the ballot: Student Democrat in running for district delegate

OLYMPUS+DIGITAL+CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Marjorie Lewis

In 2012, Edward O’Brien became the youngest delegate from New Jersey to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte County. He then served as New Jersey District Delegate for Obama’s second campaign. Now, after getting over 300 signatures, he’s back on the ballot. This time as a District Delegate for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

O’Brien is running in the 17th congressional district of Pa., which “has seven delegates attached to it, as per the Pennsylvania state party delegate selection plan,” he said.

That means that after weeks of campaigning, O’Brien is now competing for one of the spots to become a Clinton delegate.

O’Brien said he was selected to run during the first week of the school year this semester, and has spent the last two weeks running around and getting signatures to be on the ballot.

“The deadline to get your petitions in was Tuesday,” O’Brien said. “We handed our petitions in on Monday.”

This was after knocking on doors and attending dinners, meetings and galas to get signatures, O’Brien said.

According to O’Brien, his whole life was put on hold when trying to get signatures. While he said it was fortunate that it is his senior year and that he generally has understanding professors, O’Brien did say that he had to manage campaigning with all of his other obligations.

While only 250 signatures were required to be on the ballot, O’Brien said he got between 310 and 320. He said that it is safe to aim to get around 25 over the minimum number of signatures, because there is a public challenge period, where his signatures could be tested.

Even distinct from his time as a delegate to Obama, this is not O’Brien’s only political experience.

A policy studies major at Lafayette, O’Brien said he has had a passion for politics for as long as he can remember. According to his professor and advisor Mark Crain, O’Brien “was already on fire about politics” when the two met.

Early on at Lafayette, O’Brien got involved in the College Democrats of America and was later asked to serve as president. He led the College Dems of Lafayette College to the National Convention of College Democrats, where he was asked to serve as an officer. This meant he was running the whole thing, O’Brien said.

Now, O’Brien said, he’s waiting on information about how Clinton does in the primaries. March 28 is the voter registration deadline for Pa. and primary elections are on April 26, O’Brien said.

“[That’s when] we will know how she did,” he said.

O’Brien said while he thinks Bernie Sanders has done a lot of good things to shape the democratic party conversation, he is not concerned about Clinton’s chances with Sanders in the picture.

“You have to make sure you get your message out and the Clinton campaign is doing what it needs to do,” O’Brien said.

As for O’Brien, he can breathe a sigh of relief now that he is on the ballot.

“It was 17 really long days. And they’re finally over,” O’Brien said.

“When I got to hand it over to the Clinton campaign guy, it’s like turning in a final paper,” he added. “You work and work and work and work and then you just, you hand it over and you’re like, ‘It’s in your court now. It’s all yours.’”