Friday, July 18, 2008

Harrisonburg, Virginia to Host an Obama Office

The front page of the July, 17 Washington Post has a story, "Obama Adds 20 Va. Offices in a Big Push To Win State," with the following later in the story: "Many offices will be in traditional Republican strongholds, such as Harrisonburg in the Shenandoah Valley and Lynchburg in southern Virginia." Many observers, both Republican and Democrat, say that this is an effort to "show momentum" and how much more money Obama is raising than McCain, with Virginia not having gone for a Democrat for president since LBJ in 1964. They say Obama will need to show up in person for these extra offices to really have an effect, although he is currently somewhat ahead of McCain in the polls statewide.

Anyway, the office here in Harrisonburg, just a couple of blocks from my house, opens up this Saturday afternoon. This evening people were working there painting and putting up all kinds of signs and stuff. I think I shall drop in for the Open House at 2 PM. Heck, maybe we will even get a visit from him at some point.

3 comments:

Gar Lipow said...

A lot of the points of these offices are to force to Republicans to spend resources - drain their warchests so they can't spend as much in swing states. Not on the face of it a poor use of a money advantage, though one can always debate best uses.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

You are at least partly right, Gar, I would say.

Interestingly, however, I (and many others) think that Obama will win in the city of Harrisonburg, if not in the surrounding countryside, which really is deeply died Republican. He beat Hillary here, if not in most of the rest of the Shenandoah Valley (we do have a university here). Of course they are opening offices in some places where Obama's chances of actually beating McCain are less good than in Harrisonburg, but clearly the point is both to try to cut into what will in general be a lead for McCain that he must protect, given that he will lose in northern Virginia, but also as well to make him spend more resources here.

I note that Harrisonburg is in many ways a belwether of the state as a whole, often coming very close to the overall statewide averages in terms of outcomes for both state and national races that occur statewide. In 2004, the percentages were almost identical to the state as a whole, with Bush beating Kerry, while the surrounding county (Rockingham) went something like 70-30 for Bush. However, I happen to live in the one of the five precincts in Harrisonburg that went for Kerry in 2004. Indeed, it was the only precinct in the entire Shenandoah Valley that went for Kerry. The new Obama office is located in that precinct (east-central), presumably about as favorable a location as any he is going to find out here. He should drop by and get a friendly welcome, :-).

Barkley

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

I attended the opening of the office earlier today. About 60-70 there, filling it and spilling into the street. Two eager and young paid staffers in it. The state director of the campaign attended, last name Stuart (or Stewart). He was the campaign director for Obama in Iowa, which tells me that the campaign is putting a major effort into Virginia and all over the state.

I told him about the fact that Harrisonburg closely mirrors statewide outcomes and said "if he wins here, he wins Virginia (which would almost certainly give it to him nationally). He said, "looks good here."

Barkley