“Texas is a great example where we might not be able to win the state, but we want to pay a lot of attention to it,” Hildebrand said. “It’s one of the most important redistricting opportunities in the country.”The three dozen campaign offices Obama had open in Texas during the primary were inundated with volunteer manpower. They had more volunteers than they knew what to do with. Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, reportedly told donors in Houston that he would send 15 staffers to Texas, and the campaign has committed to having staff on the ground in all 50 states.
Texas Democrats are five seats away in each chamber from control of the state Legislature, which will redraw congressional districts after the 2010 census.
In Wyoming, Democrat Gary Trauner, running for the state’s sole congressional seat, lost narrowly against an incumbent in 2006 and is now seeking an open seat.
“If we can register more Democrats, if we can increase the Democratic performance and turnout, maybe we can pick up a congressional seat,” Hildebrand said.
Hildebrand’s plans underscore the unusual scope and ambition of Obama’s campaign, which can relatively cheaply extend its massive volunteer and technological resources into states which won’t necessarily produce electoral votes.
The McShameless campaign (he was a POW, you know) is trying to spin the fact that Obama is challenging him on his own turf as a sign of weakness on the part of Obama's candidacy. "It’s revealing that Barack Obama has now been forced to expand the states on his map because he’s so weak in traditional Democratic targets such as West Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and Florida, not to mention his ongoing problems in Pennsylvania and Ohio,” said McCain spokesman Brian Rogers.
But anyone with more than three firing neurons recognized McCain's desperate spin as exactly that - desperate spin.
If Obama is successful in November, he will have blazed the trail for a powerful Democratic majority. In the last week, he has sent out fundraising emails on behalf of the DCCC and the DSCC and reminded the recipients that it is going to take more than a new president to affect change. A “new President alone isn't enough,” Obama wrote in a message sent to the DSCC’s email list. “I've served long enough in the U.S. Senate to know that Washington must change, and I also know that big changes don't happen without big Senate majorities - and right now, Democrats occupy only 49 seats. This November, we have a chance to create a Democratic Senate majority like we haven't seen in decades - but it won't happen on its own,” he wrote.
Hildebrand and Obama campaign manager David Plouffe have, in recent days, outlined the shape of the campaign. In an interview with Politico, Hildebrand said Obama would focus largely on 14 states George W. Bush won in 2004, plus one state Kerry won in 2004: New Hampshire, where Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton stage their first joint event Friday.I firmly believe that Obama can take Missouri. Between the solidly Democratic strongholds of St. Louis and Kansas City, and the folks in the rural, outstate areas that have been hurt by republican policies.
“We’re going to have to play hard in New Hampshire — we completely recognize that,” Hildebrand said.
Hildebrand also said Obama would campaign in part of Nebraska, which distributes its electoral votes to the winner of each individual congressional district.
“We’re going to go in and play Nebraska 2, which is Omaha and surrounding [areas], in the hopes that we can pick up that one electoral vote,” he said.
A presentation by Plouffe to donors, and Obama’s own early advertising expenditures, add three more to that list of states to defend: Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
In an interview, Hildebrand listed states in order of the margin by which Bush carried them: The closest four — Iowa, New Mexico, Ohio, Nevada — he said, would see “a ton of attention.”
But he said Obama would campaign hard in 10 more states, with the candidate and his top surrogates spending time on the ground and his campaign spending money in the air. Those states are Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Virginia, North Carolina, Montana, North Dakota, Indiana, Georgia and Alaska.
If Obama wants to win Missouri, I know something he can do that will help him in not one, but two states. If he makes an appearance in St. Joseph, Missouri he could pack the stadium at Missouri Western with people from the Missouri 06 and the Kansas 02. An appearance in the heart of the 6th, just across the river from Kansas and the 2nd would help Nancy Boyda retain her seat in the KS-02 and it would help Kay Barnes unseat Sam Graves in the MO-06. One appearance and rally in the 6th could give Obama one more Democratic House member and help retain one more.
Some have suggested that Obama's embrace of the 50 state strategy is a ruse, intended to make McCain spend money in states that ought to be gimmes that Obama can't win anyway, but Hildebrand dismissed that notion out of hand. “We’re going in to win those states,” he said. “We’re not going in to make McCain have to pay attention to them. We’re going in to win. The result of that is he’s going to have to pay serious attention to them where he otherwise might not have to.”
Paying attention to those of us in flyover country is a damned good place to start if he wants to be the president of all Americans. Now those of us who have been overlooked and ignored for far too long have one more teeny, tiny request...will someone please drag the DLC out behind the barn and drive a stake through it's nasty, black little heart, then throw the corpse on a burning pyre?