TO: Interested Parties
FR: David Plouffe, Obama Campaign Manager
DT: October 10, 2007
RE: From Grassroots Enthusiasm to Organization in Georgia
Support for Barack Obama’s candidacy has been steadily building in Georgia since he announced his plan to run for president in February. Our campaign is taking our commitment to Georgia to the next level by opening an office in the state and hiring staff that will focus on translating the enthusiastic support for Barack Obama into a successful turnout operation ready for February 5th.
Laying the Groundwork
Barack Obama has visited Georgia four times since he announced, attracting crowds of thousands. Since February, over 50,000 Georgians have signed on as supporters of our campaign. In August, we hosted Camp Obama in Atlanta, where 185 Georgia supporters learned the skills they need to build support for the campaign in their own communities.
Twenty-five field leadership teams been established across the state, in addition to over 200 volunteer groups organized online via mybarackobama.com that are educating their networks about why Barack Obama may not have the experience Washington likes, but he has the experience America needs to bring fundamental change.
Turning Grassroots Enthusiasm Into Action:
Our volunteers are reaching their neighbors in their homes to identify and mobilize new supporters. In June, hundreds of Georgians took to the streets to door-knock in their communities, including 200 in Atlanta and 100 in Savannah. This Saturday, the Obama campaign will hold door-knocking events this Saturday in Atlanta, Decatur, and Savannah to ensure that Georgians know Barack Obama had the judgment to oppose the war from the start, and he has put forward a plan that will end the war as quickly and responsibly as possible.
So many volunteers have joined our Georgia campaign that they have supplemented our efforts in the early voting state of South Carolina. In September, 400 Georgia canvassers spent the weekend in South Carolina telling voters why they believe Barack Obama is the one candidate who can unite Americans to confront the great challenges we face.
On November 1, we will open the doors to our office in Atlanta. The office will serve as a place for supporters and volunteers to phone bank, organize door-knocking in their communities and plan for upcoming events.
Expanding our Georgia Team:
Our primary focus is building our campaign in Georgia from the bottom up. We are composing a state team that will focus on organizing precinct captains, expanding our network of support at the grassroots level and building the infrastructure we need in preparation for February 5th.
The Obama campaign is announcing today that we have appointed Eureka Gilkey, who served as Deputy Political Director for the campaign, as Georgia State Director. Gilkey will be joined by Trista Allen, who served as Southern Field Director, who has been appointed Georgia Field Director.
We are also boosted by a strong base of support from elected officials and leaders in the faith community throughout Georgia who will serve as key advisors in the state as we continue to build our team. Led by our state co-chairs U.S. Representatives Sanford Bishop and Hank Johnson, that team includes Attorney General Thurbert Baker [ed. note: endorsed Sen. Clinton on Dec. 1, 2007], Atlanta City Council President Lisa Borders, East Point Mayor Joseph Macon, Georgia State Senate Minority Whip David Adelman and 23 additional members of the state legislature.
Faith leaders throughout the state have also joined in our efforts to educate Georgians about Barack Obama, including Rev. Joseph Lowery, Bishop Earl McCloud, Dr. DeWitt Smith, Jr., Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley, Sr., Rev. Dr. Matthew Vaughn Johnson, Dr. Kenneth L. Samuels, Dr. C.T. Vivian, Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale, Rev. Craig L. Oliver, Sr., Rev. Lester A. McCorn, Rev. E. Dewey Smith, Jr. and Dr. Michael Battle.
A Clear Path to the Nomination
It is important to take a moment every once in a while to reflect on all the progress we have made together in this campaign.
When we got into this race as a largely unknown candidate new to the national political stage, we never expected that nine months later at this stage of the race, we would be in a tight three way race in Iowa; leading in the money race; have the largest grassroots organization in modern political history; and have an organizational advantage in the early states and February 5 over a quasi-incumbent from the most powerful political machine in modern political history.
While the press remains focused on the simplistic and erroneous view of national polls as predictors, the Obama campaign has several structural advantages:
Barack is the candidate with the message and biography that is most in sync with the electorate – according to a Gallup poll in September, Democratic voters prefer change to experience by a margin of 73 percent to 26 percent;
The largest organizations with the most experienced staff and enthusiastic volunteers in the 4 early states;
An unexpected financial advantage that allows the campaign to compete in multiple contests at the same time;
The most donors by far in the race, who as the election draws nearer will get even more active on our behalf, giving us financial sustainability;
A significant organizational advantage in February 5th states.