Chicago Mag (1993): In the final, climactic build-up to November’s general election … the number of new voter registrations hit an all-time high. And the majority of those new voters were black. More than 150,000 new African-American voters were added to the city’s rolls….
…At the head of this effort was a little-known 31-year-old African-American lawyer, community organizer, and writer: Barack Obama.
… By 1991, when Obama, law degree in hand, returned to Chicago to work on a book about race relations – having turned his back on the Supreme Court clerkship that is almost a given for the law review’s top editor – black voter registration and turnout in the city were at their lowest points since record keeping began … Six months after he took the helm of Chicago’s Project Vote!, those conditions had been reversed.
…Within a few months, Obama, a tall, affable workaholic, had recruited staff and volunteers from black churches, community groups, and politicians. He helped train 700 deputy registrars, out of a total of 11,000 citywide. And he began a saturation media campaign with the help of black-owned Brainstorm Communications…
….The success of the voter-registration drive has marked Obama as the political star the Mayor should perhaps be watching for. “The sky’s the limit for Barack,” says Burrell.
Some of Daley’s closest advisers are similarly impressed. “In its technical demands, a voter-registration drive is not unlike a mini-political campaign,” says John Schmidt. “Barack ran this superbly. I have no doubt he could run an equally good political campaign if that’s what he decided to do next.”
Obama shrugs off the possibility of running for office. “Who knows?” he says. “But probably not immediately.” He smiles.
“Was that a sufficiently politic ‘maybe’? My sincere answer is, I’ll run if I feel I can accomplish more that way than agitating from the outside. I don’t know if that’s true right now. Let’s wait and see what happens in 1993….”
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Thank you Dotser😉