Hillary Clinton has not disclosed her future political intentions, and neither has Charlie Crist.
But the would-be presidential and Florida gubernatorial candidates, respectively, are drawing interest from visitors to George Conroy’s vendor tent at the city’s weekly green market.
Two years ago, the 87-year-old retired housewares salesman launched a get-out-the-vote campaign on behalf of local, state and national Democratic candidates.
Each Sunday, he hands out campaign literature and registers volunteers from a 10-by-10-foot tent outside the city’s municipal complex.
“I want to make sure we get the vote out in 2014,” said Conroy, who is president of the North County Democratic Club. “Right after the election, I put up a banner that says 2014. Because I feel that the Democrats did not get the vote out in 2010, and I want to make sure we get the vote out in 2014.”
A handful of candidates, including U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, have stopped by Conroy’s tent in recent months, as have dozens of potential volunteers.
Conroy, a Jupiter resident, will rely on those volunteers as the 2014 election campaign draws closer.
“They help me get the vote out,” said Conroy, a lifelong Democrat who his cast his first presidential vote for Harry S. Truman in 1948. “They make phone calls. They knock on doors. They do everything that volunteers do.”
Conroy had been averaging about 8-to-10 signed volunteers each week until Feb. 10, when he erected a billboard touting the potential candidacies of Crist in 2014 and Clinton in 2016.
Volunteer requests doubled, Conroy said.
“Just her name is magic,” Conroy said of Clinton, who recently stepped down as U.S. Secretary of State. “Everyone asks if she’s running. I say, ‘Of course she’s running.’ I don’t know, but I’m assuming she is. For my purpose, she better.”
In addition to rallying support for a potential Clinton candidacy, Conroy also is working on behalf of local candidates, including Democrat David Levy, who is running for Palm Beach Gardens city council next month; Murphy and U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, who are up for reelection in 2014; and state House and Senate candidates.
“I’d really like to do something about Tallahassee,” said Conroy, a widower who became active in local politics after his wife of 56 years, Elaine, died six years ago. “We’re outnumbered so badly. I want to concentrate on that.”
Non-Democrats have been mostly respectful of Conroy’s get-out-the-vote campaign, he said.
“You get a lot of Republicans that give me a thumbs-down,” Conroy said. “I say, ‘Hey, you got two years.’”