Thursday, June 19, 2008

Obama: The Army of 75,000

From January 29th, 2008

The Washington Post is normally what I consider a paper full of insider political crap. However today they ran a good article about the impressive ground game that Barack Obama is building in Super Tuesday states. The Obama campaign now reports over 75,000 "active volunteers" making telephone calls, knocking on doors and otherwise helping out. Not only that they have more than 500 paid staffers in the Feb. 5 states. That is unheard of. And that isn't cheap.

But thousands of organizers flocking around a former organizer isn't anything new. In South Carolina were Obama cleaned up he had quite a ground game.

To show what a difference the organization can make, Plouffe pointed to Saturday's South Carolina primary, where Obama won 44 of 46 counties and more than doubled Clinton's vote totals amid record turnout. He said 13,000 volunteers reported for duty on Election Day.

That works out to one volunteer for every 23 voters who cast a ballot for Obama.

Not only is he running a massive field campaign he is also on the air in every single state but his home state. Let me tell you. That is not cheap. Thankfully Obama has raised over 5 MILLION dollars since South Carolina. Just online.

Back to the ground game though. Let's take a look at Kansas.

An example of Obama's unorthodox decision to deploy organizers to unlikely states is Kansas, where he visited his grandparents' home town of El Dorado today and picked up the endorsement of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a popular two-term governor known for working with Republicans -- at least the ones she was unable to persuade to switch parties. Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson, now a Democrat, is a former chairman of the Kansas Republican Party.

Obama staffers first appeared in Kansas in October, four months before the Feb. 5 caucus and three months before the first Clinton organizers arrived in the state. There are now 18 Obama workers in Kansas, or six times the number of Clinton staffers. All this for a state that will choose 32 delegates on Tuesday, compared with 370 in California and 232 in New York.

"Showing the ability to perform well across the country, particularly against Senator Clinton, who was the inevitable national front-runner for most of the campaign, has great value," Plouffe said in an earlier interview with The Trail. "If Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee, the night of Novermber 3, we're going to be talking about a lot more states in play than Senator Clinton."

Thirteen Kansas legislators gathered in the ornate statehouse rotunda in Topeka on Jan. 17 to endorse Obama. They said the Clinton and Edwards campaigns had done almost nothing to reach out to them, while the Obama staff had called repeatedly -- often after organizing groups of activists in the legislators' districts.

By saying voters in their districts were supporting Obama, the campaign workers persuaded the legislators to take a closer look.

"It's a response to voters who are telling us whom we should support," said Sen. Anthony Hensley, the senate minority leader.


The Obama campaign likes the energy it is seeing in Kansas. Organizers counted 58 supporters in conservative Salina last week and more than 60 at an event in Kansas City on Sunday.

"Obama's an organizer. He knows how to motivate people," said Obama supporter Dan Watkins, a former Kansas Democratic Party executive director, referring to the candidate's community organizing background in Chicago. "They have a plan. They're doing it step by step."

In contrast who is running the other candidates campaign?

A very different demographic group is helping Clinton, said her Kansas co-chair, Topeka attorney Dan Lykins, who has been the state party chair since 1992.

The old time insiders vs people power. It's a easy choice for me, but it's considered a risky strategy among the Beltway types. The status quo is working fine for them. Not for us. We are the people-powered movement here in the netroots. Let's help the people-powered canidate. Keep the money flowing in so he can keep running that kind of grassroots campaign. Donate to the Obamathon today. We've only got a week left to fight for the real people powered canidate. And since we launched this people-powered drive it's raised nearly 22k from over 300 donations. Help fund the army of 500 to make sure the army of 75,000's work results in a win on February 5th. Donate now.

Yes. We. Can.

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