Barack Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Steve Hildebrand, told the Politico that the campaign will be focusing on 14 states that George W. Bush won in 2004. Part of the thinking behind is this strategy is that Obama will have a chance to carry states such as Virginia in November. At the same time, it appears as though the campaign realizes that there are a few states where the Democratic Party as a whole will greatly benefit from the Obama campaign simply having some staff and resources available in the state. In Texas and Wyoming, for instance, there are important state legislative seats that are up for grabs.
The article did mention that for the most part Obama’s campaign would only be buying significant chunks of advertising in states that he could possibly win, but would be sending staff and resources to all 50 states. It’s that staff that will truly strengthen the Democratic Party in the long run.
You might have noticed that many candidates run two or three times before they are eventually elected. While name recognition is definitely part of the reason for this, there’s also the fact that the campaign would already have an organization of staffers and volunteers put together. When you combine this with the fact that they’ve already been able to see what messages really work and identified many of their key supporters, it becomes clear why challengers are likely to have more success if they’ve already run before.
By sending staff and resources into all 50 states, the Obama campaign will be able to help organize local Democratic activists and identify potential voters. While nobody is claiming that Obama will be able to sweep all 50 states, the work that his campaign does will help local Democrats in 2008 and for years to come. Why? Because they will be out identifying potential staffers, volunteers, donors, and supports and to convey the Democratic Party’s message to voters. The local candidates will obviously still have work left to do, but the ground work that the Obama camp will do will help ease that burden.