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All Over But The Memories For U. Iowa Campaign Workers

This story was written by Anna Lothson, The Daily Iowan

Almost everything was put on hold - a paying job, school work, friends.

All that changed Tuesday night for University of Iowa junior Nora Schmiedel. The election's over, and so is her position as President-elect Barack Obama's deputy field organizer in Iowa City.

"Luckily, my parents are huge Obama fans, so they have been giving me money," she said.

On Thursday, Schmiedel stood amid piles of torn boxes overflowing with Obama posters at the Johnson County Democrats headquarters - a building that just days ago buzzed with callers scurrying to reach voters.

But all the campaign material wasn't made in vain. Schmiedel said the materials will be shipped to Iraq so other nations may show their Obama pride.

The UI junior, who began her work with the campaign during the caucus season, said the position was a full-time job - minus the pay.

"It's going to be good to get some sleep," she said. "But I woke up after the election and felt I had way too much time now."

Though she received three credit hours for her work on the Obama campaign, she said she had to drop a class and that her social life suffered.

"That stuff is all shallow," she added, describing the campaign as pure "adrenaline."

But as the high from the election wears down, both local parties are now unwinding.

While the election didn't go as he had hoped, Greg Baker, the head of Iowa Federation for College Republicans, said officials move forward to "keep Republicans excited."

"I'm taking a vacation until December," he said.

As for the Johnson County Republican site in Coralville, a closed sign hangs on the door of the dark, abandoned room. Only a few boxes and computers are left to move out.

"We're clearing out the stables," Bill Keettel, the head of the local party, said on Thursday as he filled his Suburban with boxes.

Although Baker, a UI senior, said the campaign siphoned almost all his time - class time, mostly - he said the experience will pay dividends in the long run.

"It's time to beef up my rsum," he said.

Student loans helped Baker through the campaign, he said, but now it's time to start looking for a job.

While many UI students volunteered, the Obama team only had 10 paid full-time employees in Johnson County. McCain? One.

Johnson County Democrat head Brian Flaherty said party members had been celebrating the victory, but they are now quickly clearing out campaign offices.

Most Johnson County Democrats will now take a vacation, he said.

"We're going to get a tad more sleep," he said. "We're eating a little better. Everybody's feeling pretty good."

Among the many victories, Flaherty said there's still much to do.

"We're [now] advocating for the policies we campaigned for," he said.

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