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Teenager Still Motivated, Just Not for Obama

With high political ambitions a Google search for the teen yields as the first result a Facebook group called "Charlie Comfort for President in 2032" Comfort is likely to stay involved beyond this four-year term on Oskaloosa's school board. He's a double major in journalism and government at William Penn University and has been writing about the 2012 presidential candidates as the political editor for Oskynews.org.

For his part, the school board incumbent, Don Patterson, 57, says he never really put much effort into his own campaign. He said he'd planned to retire because "17 years was enough," but when it looked as if all of the seats would be uncontested, he wanted to give voters "a choice" so they weren't turning over half the school board at once.

"I've got a little more perspective than an 18-year-old," Patterson, a building contractor, told Roll Call in an interview.

Patterson said he spent just $20 and put out only a handful of signs, as Comfort blanketed the neighborhood advertising his candidacy.

Comfort used the same techniques for his own race as he did for Team Obama outreach via Facebook and deploying his teenage friends to use a call script during phone banks on his behalf.

"I think a lot of people discounted me," Comfort told Roll Call. "Poll workers told me after the election a lot of young people voted that day."

That also might have helped Nik Rule, a recent college graduate, get his high number of votes to win an uncontested seat on the school board.

Comfort raised $2,700, using the funds to buy ads in the newspaper and to put 35 radio spots on the two local stations. He won the only contested race on the
Sept. 13 ballot, earning 434 votes to 315 votes for Patterson.

"You've got to hand it to the kid. He put up 100 signs on his own," Patterson said. "He doesn't have a full-time job. He has time to campaign. It is unusual for a kid that age to be involved. So many kids don't pay attention."

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