NPR logo Paul Anderson: Notes From A 'Purple' State

Paul Anderson: Notes From A 'Purple' State

Courtesy of Paul Anderson

Delegate: Paul Anderson, 63 (will turn 64 during the convention)

Hometown: Fort Collins, Colo.

Occupation: Independent Videographer/filmmaker

Why We're Watching: Anderson is a grass-roots campaigner in a once solidly red state that Democrats hope to turn blue.

A self-described "in the trenches" Democrat, Paul Anderson has never run for political office. But he's spent countless hours pounding the pavement for local candidates and holding voter-registration drives in his hometown of Fort Collins, Colo., a once solidly Republican enclave in a once solidly Republican state. These days, Anderson says both appear to be turning purple.

"The fact that every vote is going to count in Colorado — and the Democrats are going to have to work very hard for every one of those votes, going out and finding those independents and bringing Obama's message to them — is what we're about," Anderson says.

Being a delegate runs in Paul Anderson's family. His wife, Melisse, was a Democratic delegate to the 1976 convention, which nominated Jimmy Carter. Anderson sat on the sidelines for that one, but in the years since, he hasn't shied away from political activism. So he jumped at the chance to be an Obama delegate in Colorado's 2nd Congressional District earlier this year.

For Anderson, it's only an hour-long trip to Denver from his home, but he'd no doubt be willing to travel as far as it takes to be a delegate at what's being billed as a "historic" convention.

He says he'll do whatever it takes because he believes so strongly in his party's candidate. Indeed, political activism is a central requirement to being a delegate.

For Anderson, that road began in Selma, Ala., in 1965, when he marched for civil rights alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Anderson says he's looking forward to seeing the fruition of that quest, when the first African-American is nominated as a major party's presidential candidate in Denver.

Kirk Siegler reports from member station KUNC in Greeley, Colo.