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Recent grad works for Obama campaign


Grant Denton

Grant Denton '09, MA '10, shared his experiences working at Obama Election Headquarters with Emerson students during a campus visit December 4, 2012.

It was just a month ago that Grant Denton ’09, MA ’10, worked 14-hour days, seven days a week and got by on adrenaline as a social media coordinator at President Barack Obama’s Chicago re-election office.

“It was exhausting, but rewarding,” Denton said. “You’re doing it because you believe in it – and you know there’s an end date.”

This week Denton is visiting students in the classes of his former instructor, Communication Studies Associate Professor Gregory Payne.

“Grant epitomizes the essence of civic engagement and leadership that our political communication program strives to deliver,” Payne said. “For our students to see how a young man from a small town could become an Obama insider… is an example of what an Emerson education can do for you, just as we have seen with GOP students who have learned politics at Emerson.”

Denton oversaw a nationwide effort to encourage new campaign volunteers – specifically those found on social media – to join on-the-ground campaigners in their hometowns.

“I ran the grassroots fundraising program, which is when people created their own donation pages for their local communities,” Denton said. “We would help them reach out to friends and family, and even provided them talking points to make things easier for them.”

He was also used as a troubleshooter in various swing states when the situation demanded intervention by campaign headquarters.

Denton graduated from Emerson in 2010 with a master’s degree in Communication Management after receiving a BA in Political Communication in 2009.

His final semester was spent interning at Organizing for America, a Democratic-led organization that sought to recruit Obama supporters. Most group members later joined the Obama campaign, and so did Denton.

But what he calls “an amazing adventure” actually began more than three years earlier – right across the street from Emerson College.

“When I came to Emerson, I was actually a Republican,” said Denton, an Oklahoma native. “In October of 2007, then-Senator Obama was speaking across the street at Boston Common. When I heard him speak, it was really a turning point. It made me re-evaluate what I thought.”

Denton received David P. Twomey III Public Diplomacy Award in 2010 at Emerson.

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