PRESS RELEASE from Maine Democratic Party



Democrats in Maine Credit Peter Chandler With Big Obama Win, Lasting Gains For the Party
Dem staffers head off to work on Minnesota Senate recount, George run-off

(AUGUSTA, MAINE) - Maine Democratic Party Chairman John Knutson today credited Barack Obama's sizable victory in Maine to Coordinated Campaign Director Peter Chandler, who built and led the largest grassroots campaign in Maine history.

Chandler took a one-year leave of absence as Congressman Mike Michaud's chief of staff to run the Democratic Coordinated Campaign. He will return to his post with Michaud in Washington, D.C., in early January.

"Peter Chandler has an extraordinary political mind, coupled with an uncommon enthusiasm and ability to inspire all of the staff, volunteers, and elected officials around him. He expects great things and then executes a program to ensure his goals are reached," Knutson said. "President-elect Barack Obama would not have won as sizeable a victory here in Maine were it not for the organization built by Chandler, his 50-person staff, and the 6,000 volunteers they recruited."

Knutson said there was further evidence this week of the caliber of staff that Chandler recruited. Approximately a 10 members of his staff, including field director Mark Henson, were tapped by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) to help with the Minnesota recount between Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Democratic challenger Al Franken. The crew left Wednesday on the 24-hour drive to Minneapolis-St. Paul.

In addition, the party's IT Director, Reid DeWolfe, joined two Tom Allen for Senate staffers in Georgia, where they will hold leadership positions in the Georgia Senatorial run-off election between Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss and Democratic challenger Jim Martin. Georgia law calls for a run-off when no candidate earns a 50 percent majority.

"The fact these staffers were tapped to work on the run-off and recount campaigns that are so important to determining the leadership that President Obama will have in the Senate speaks volumes about the talent on Tom Allen's campaign and at the Maine Democratic Party," Knutson said.

By executing a plan he first envisioned in January 2008, Chandler created the largest Democratic grassroots campaign in Maine history. He opened 34 offices statewide, including at least one office in every county of the state (including the first Democratic office in Washington County since Edmund Muskie was a U.S. Senator).

With significant investment by the DSCC on behalf of Tom Allen's Senate campaign, Chandler raised additional financial resources to open the offices, purchase campaign materials, and hire 52 paid staff, who in turn recruited more than 6,000 volunteers over seven months to make phone calls, knock on doors, enter data-whatever was needed to elect Democrats from Barack Obama on down to local state legislative races.

Combined, the volunteers and staff made more than 2 million phone calls (in a state with only 1.3 million people); they knocked on more than 200,000 doors; and, on Election Day alone, 3,600 volunteers operating out of 74 locations statewide executed the most intense and sophisticated Get Out The Vote effort ever witnessed in Maine.

Knutson said the breadth of the volunteer base and voter contact data will mean a stronger party infrastructure in the state for years to come.