In 2000 and 2004, more Republicans voted early than Democrats in Florida -- to the tune of more than 100,000 ballots in both elections.
According to some newly crunched numbers by a Florida Democrat who spoke to the Huffington Post on Monday, Democrats stood Monday with an early voting edge of nearly 360,000 early ballots. The operative credited a strong ground game with creating such a dramatic reversal of fortune. On the last day of early voting on Sunday, the operative said the Democratic advantage outpaced the average of all the previous days. "Early voting only occurred in a handful of counties across the state yesterday, and often only for limited hours. As such, only 83,000 total ballots were cast, with 54 percent coming from Democrats," the strategist told the Huffington Post.
Time and again during conversations with swing state Democratic operatives on Monday returned, the ground game was touted. In the surprisingly competitive state of North Carolina, a party operative sang the praises of a text-messaging campaign that targeted 13,000 Democratic voters during that state's early voting process. Of course, text messaging is not the predominant way of reaching voters in elections. But the North Carolinian claimed that strategy -- along with other new online tools pioneered by the Obama campaign -- helped Democrats vote early at a higher rate than in 2004.
Over the weekend, 21,000 Democratic volunteers working out of 50 offices in North Carolina knocked on more than 400,000 doors, the operative said. Looking ahead as to which areas could prove critical as results trickle in Tuesday night, the operative said Mecklenberg county (including the city of Wade) and Guilford county (including Greensboro) would be critical -- in addition to the northeastern corner of the state, which features a large African-American population. "Though, of course we hope to see strong Obama-supporter turnout throughout the state," the operative added, fulfilling the campaign's apparent requirement to concede not a single vote in any area of the country, no matter how traditionally red.
And in Colorado, an Obama staffer said the Denver convention -- in which local citizens came to watch Obama accept the nomination in exchange for their cell phone numbers -- resulted in a highly successful text-messaging program that has broadened the campaign's reach in the state. "With the 80,000 people who were able to get information on how get involved [from the convention], we have in turn been able to reach out to a lot more volunteers with the text messaging program. ... So we have been actively campaigning in all 64 counties in the state." The staffer said Arapahoe, Adams, Jefferson, Larimer and Weld counties could be of particular interest on Tuesday -- in addition to Pueblo county's trove of Latino votes. "So far we've been really excited by enthusiasm from Latino voters, not just in Pueblo. And we'll obviously be working hard for every last vote."
In Ohio, meanwhile, 20,000 volunteers knocked on nearly 780,000 doors over the weekend. "Our GOTV program is focused almost wholly on person-to-person contact," an Obama aide in the state said Monday. "We're certainly incorporating a new media strategy, and are constantly updating the Ohio for Obama website for voters so that they can find information," the aide said. The official campaign offices are not as filled with bodies as they were even a week ago. "We've emptied out the state headquarters," the aide added, suggesting that more campaign workers were out canvassing on the playing field -- trying to ensure that the months of planning and ground game infrastructure are realized tomorrow night.
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