The political mailers have been sent. The television ads have nearly run their course. And the issues have been debated through and through -- sometimes painfully so.
With just hours left before Election Day, campaign activists in the Valley are turning their attention to getting supporters to the polls, where turnout will undoubtedly decide several crucial contests, from tax increases to members of Congress.
Get-out-the-vote drives were in full gear across the Valley over the weekend. Volunteers knocked on doors and hit the phones, and efforts will continue until the last votes are cast at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
A neck-and-neck presidential race and an uncertain balance of power on Capitol Hill have stirred enthusiasm over this year's election, and campaign organizers report thundering numbers of volunteers.
Volunteer Sean Wolfe was out Sunday helping the Fresno County Republican Party because he can't bear the thought of four more years of Democratic rule.
"(President Barack) Obama has not been successful at doing anything that he said he would do: cutting the deficit, working across the aisle, fixing unemployment," said Wolfe, who donned a tea party shirt at the Republican Party's bustling Shaw Avenue headquarters, where wall signs protested higher taxes and high-speed rail. "People see that, and they feel it."
Wolfe, of Clovis, signed up to make calls on Election Day. He left the Republican office with a Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan yard sign.
The signs sold for $10 each or were available as part of a "Survival Package": Two signs and four bumper stickers for $20.
Campaign organizers -- who warned against taking complimentary snacks without working ("This isn't Obama's office; no free handouts") -- said Romney gear was flying off the shelves.
In downtown Fresno, it was a similar scene at the county's Democratic headquarters, with Obama T-shirts offered for sale. Signs promoted school and library funding instead of protesting big government.
Volunteer Eloise Thompson of Fresno said she's working for the Democratic campaign because the president hasn't gotten enough credit for issues such as health-care reform or combating terrorism, especially considering the dire situation he inherited.
"When I first voted for Obama, I thought, 'He's going to need eight years,' " she said. "I want to make sure he gets eight years."
While the presidential contest remains foremost in people's minds, the race is largely a non-issue in California. The large number of Democratic voters are all but certain to hand the state's winner-take-all electoral votes to Obama.
The two major parties are focusing some of their last-minute outreach on down ballot issues and candidates.
The Democrats are pushing passages of Proposition 30, a hike in the sales and income tax that would support schools and public safety. Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to stop in Fresno at 11:30 a.m. today to stump for the measure, which has taken a dive in recent polls.
The Republicans are looking at solidifying GOP votes in Congress.
They want to be sure frontrunner David Valadao of Hanford beats Fresno Democrat John Hernandez in the west side's newly drawn 21st District. They want to see Brian Whelan upset Democratic incumbent Jim Costa in the 16th District. And they're pushing for Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, to ensure he fends off a challenge from Otto Lee, the Bay Area Democrat who now resides in Clovis.
"We're doing everything possible to get people to the polls," said Sandra Lakeman, who sits on the Fresno County Republican Party Central Committee. "Everyone we talk to is energized."
Of course, Democrats are fighting for their congressional contenders, too. But another big concern of Democrats is Proposition 32, which many oppose. The measure bans political contributions via payroll deduction, a move intended to scale back the power of labor unions.
Legions of labor activists took to the streets across the Valley over the weekend to make sure supporters would go to the polls and vote no.
"People might not be excited about their union all the time, but when you consider life without a union. ... They get that," said Randy Ghan with the Central Labor Council.
Secretary of State Debra Bowen reported last week that voter registration has hit a new high in California -- 18.2 million -- at least in part because of the high-stakes issues.
Polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday. Early voting is already under way.
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