Posted by: mutantpoodle | October 14, 2008

The X Factor

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Obama Volunteers

It’s the ground game, and in this Huffpo piece Zack Exley shows you why community organizers aren’t to be trifled with:

Ryan, for example, has six teams covering a wide swath of rural and exurban Southwest Ohio. He said, “It’s great—it’s like having six offices around town.”

He elaborated: “So many people lose elections because of the places you can’t get to. This program allows Glenna’s team, with just two or three weeks of VAN training to know how to cut turf, to know how to pull lists and put canvass packets together. So all that type of work that eats up so much time for organizers can be handled at the local level—at her place. That allows me to bounce around and find other team leaders. Since she’s become a team leader and started taking care of her neighborhood, I’ve been able to go out and find four other team leaders—because I can rest assured that she’s made the volunteer recruitment calls for her canvasses, and that she’s made the confirmation calls. I might make a few calls at night—and if I find a new good volunteer I’ll shoot Glenna an email saying, ‘Call this person when you can.’ But for the most part, it allows me to jump out of that neighborhood and spend time with another neighborhood that needs the help.”

“So being able to play in every single street is really important and the teams are what let us do that,” Ryan continued.

The Ohio campaign is attempting to build teams in 1,231 campaign-defined “neighborhoods,” each covering eight to ten precincts. They are targeting virtually every inhabited square mile of the state. The campaign claimed to have teams in 65% of neighborhoods when I visited in early September. That’s risen to 85% coverage at press time—and they are shooting for 100%. In contrast, the Kerry campaign effectively wrote off rural counties, and completely abandoned them in the final few weeks of the campaign in a last minute all-in shift to the cities.

This, and Democratic registration gains, will bring Obama home.

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