The battle over independent voters looks to be a hard fought one this November:
Democrats Target Independents in Colorado and Virginia
The New York Times
February 21, 2010 @ 10:18 AM
Democrats are ramping up their efforts to woo those fickle independent voters, beginning by deploying volunteers from the considerable Obama campaign army now known as Organizing for America.
After collecting pledges for millions of volunteer hours, O.F.A., under the auspices of the Democratic National Committee, is starting its “You Fight, We’ll Fight” effort by asking people to help in two regions to aid vulnerable lawmakers — in Colorado, for Senator Michael Bennet, the Democrat appointed last year — and in Virginia’s 5th congressional district, for Representative Tom Perriello, the freshman Democrat.
Both are facing tough challenges in the midterm elections, with an anti-incumbent mood suggesting sizable gains for Republicans and with public support for an overhaul of health care dropping in public opinion polls, given the uneasiness and upset over the economy. Mr. Bennet faces a primary battle from within his own party, confronting a popular opponent, Andrew Romanoff, the former state House speaker, when Democrats caucus there on March 16. And Colorado has become one of the most-watched swing states in the West. Just last week, President Obama traveled to Denver to stump for Mr. Bennet at a rally and a private fund-raiser.
Mr. Perriello’s district remains conservative and has experienced significant unemployment, factors that a large field of Republican candidates have used to target him.
In an e-mail message sent last night to those volunteers, David Plouffe, the former campaign manager for the Obama campaign and guru to grassroots Democrats, wrote: “Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado and Congressman Tom Perriello of Virginia are two new members of Congress who have stood up for health reform and suffered vicious, deceptive attacks from the opposition. Now they’re both facing tough re-election fights, and they need our support.”
Mr. Plouffe’s e-mail includes links for volunteers to follow to sign up, using the organizing tools familiar to those worked door-to-door for the Obama campaign in the 2008 cycle. They’ll be given lists of independent voters to telephone or contact.
This latest effort mainly targets independent voters, whose influence has been heavily felt in recent elections involving the Republican wins in Massachusetts for Senator Scott Brown and in the New Jersey and Virginia governors’ races. In the wake of those losses for Democrats, Mr. Plouffe was enlisted by President Obama to take on a new oversight role for House, Senate and governors’ races.
Both parties have been eying independents as they shift into high gear for the midterms. With this move, O.F.A. is also signaling how it intends to harness the millions of volunteers who fanned out across the country to elect President Obama and other Democrats.