| April 27, 2017
Menu

Donald Trump's campaign draws dedicated volunteers

Donald Trump's campaign draws dedicated volunteers AP
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C., June 13:  Dale "Boomer" Ranney can get in Donald Trump's face like almost no one else.

She has nudged her way to the front of 21 of his rallies, passing up book after book, photo after photo for him to autograph, finding success some 66 times. He smiles at her in recognition now.


When she made a trip to Trump Tower in New York to be near him for his home state primary in April, he spotted her and told his security guards to let her into his victory party there later that day. A photo snapped that morning shows Ranney and her candidate grinning and giving the thumbs up. He's in his suit and red tie. She's in her sequined American flag vest and matching boots.

Ranney is not only a Trump superfan, she's also a forceful advocate and volunteer on behalf of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Since February, she has guided an ad hoc team of 50 volunteers who have made some 75,000 telephone calls to voters to preach the gospel of Trump.

The eclectic, unpaid group — she calls them the "Trump T-Birds," after her red Ford convertible — includes a cancer patient making calls from her bed and 13-year-old who spouts Trumpisms.

All candidates count on volunteers to make calls to voters, distribute literature and knock on doors. Few have inspired the kind of passionate dedication that the celebrity billionaire has. For a candidate just now beginning traditional fundraising and woefully behind in building a staff of paid field organizers, this volunteer network could be especially vital when he faces presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton this fall.

Ranney, a 62-year-old thrice-married, beach-loving retired industrial engineer, is perhaps Trump's most committed volunteer.

"I feel guilty anytime I'm not on the phone calling for him," Ranney said. "I'm not getting paid, but it's a personal responsibility I feel to get him in the White House."

She approaches her volunteer work much like Trump approaches his bid, speaking off the cuff with prospective voters rather than reading from scripts the campaign has uploaded to its computerized calling program. She uses social media to build a following and makes her own assignments rather than waiting for directions.

"I really think all of us volunteers kind of copy Donald," Ranney said. "It's natural, not rehearsed, kind of ad-libbed."

With the primary nomination locked up for Trump, Ranney is starting to organize voter registration drives, acting on her gut instinct that he will inspire scores of people who have never voted to come out for him.