Last night’s Driving Votes Caravan kickoff party was an enormous success politically, financially, and rockingly. I won’t be on the cross-country drive: the day job wins this time. I’m going to fly out to Florida and meet the caravan there, however.

It’s hard to express how exciting the fundraiser was, but Jesse has a great take:

Hell’s Belles rocks the crowd!

Congressman Jim McDermott (featured in Fahrenheit 9/11) cut the ribbon on our RV and then delivered a rousing speech about why Bush has to go. If Bush wins again, McDermott warned, he will stack the Supreme Court with people who will continue chipping away at our freedom through the Patriot Act, eliminating a woman’s right to choose, etc.

Later that night, Hell’s Belles, an all-female AC/DC cover band, rocked the crowd into a frenzy. We were honored to have other guests including WA Attorney General Christine Gregoire, former Clinton speech writer Eric Liu, and the fantastic musician Shawn Smith.

People couldn’t stop talking about how much fun they were having and we raised almost $20,000 to register voters in swing states in one night!

Congressman McDermott and Attorney General Gregoire voiced their strong support for Driving Votes. They each remarked that the hope and energy they see in us reminds them of their early activist days after the Vietnam War. Our generation is often labeled as disengaged and apathetic, but in Driving Votes they see a group of determined individuals who are committed to making a difference.

Rep. McDermott with Jesse and Matt.

Hell’s Belles blew us away.

Eric Liu spoke of this in terms of finding the power of our individual voices, and amplifying our voices to reach out, engage others, influence thoughts, and affect change.

After the speakers, Hell’s Belles ignited the crowd with their performance. They put a new twist on classic AC/DC tunes like Highway to Hell–could that be a Driving Votes theme song?! At one point, lead singer Om Johari talked about her two younger cousins who are in the military, stationed in the Middle East right now.

A member of the crowd shouted “I just got back!” Johari responded directly with a firm, “Welcome home. It’s good to have you back.” She talked about how the military attracts kids with promises that they can see the world and go to college, but that there’s a lot more to it than that. She dedicated the last song to all our troops saying “We support you and we want you all to come home safely.”

We couldn’t get enough!

DV Hero, Jason Gruber.

Jason Gruber planned this entire event on his own time for Driving Votes. A huge thank you to Jason on behalf of the Driving Votes team. We couldn’t have imagined a better send off than this. Thanks to the speakers and musicians, and to all of our supporters who came and donated to our cause. We’re energized by the fantastic response we saw last night and we’re ready to hit the road to do the hard work that will lead us to victory in November!