Obama campaign pours resources into Triad

by Jordan Green

A capacity crowd packed the Obamacampaign’s Winston-Salem headquarterson West 4th Street during a grandopening on Feb. 29 in which organizersurged volunteers to sign up for phone bankingwith neighborhood team leaders in Kernersville,east Winston-Salem, Lexington and Iredell County.

“In between now and the election we’ve got topersuade those who voted for Obama four yearsago but [feel], ‘Well, we didn’t get everything wewanted,’” Jeannie Grimes, neighborhood teamleader for Kernersville, told the enthusiastic crowdof more than 200.

Grimes said the Obama campaign has been operatingphone banks at least once a week in ForsythCounty since last April.Organizers made no effort to downplay howcritical North Carolina is to President Obama’sreelection prospects. In 2008, Obama carried NorthCarolina by a razor-thin margin of 14,177 votes, ora 0.4 percent.

The Winston-Salem office is one of nine theObama campaign has opened across the state, includingGreensboro, Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, ChapelHill, Fayetteville, Asheville and Wilmington.“I know we cannot take this state without thiscounty,” said Punya Krishnappa, Triad West regionalfield director, “without people like you working tore-elect this president.”Jesse Moore, the Obama campaign’s politicaldirector for North Carolina, underscored the point.

“Anybody that thinks this is going to be a cakewalkis dreaming,” he said. “This is going to be a difficult,difficult climb and an uphill lift.”The Winston-Salem campaign office grand openingdrew numerous Democratic candidates, includingRep. Bill Faison, who is seeking the party’snomination for governor, and Elisabeth Motsinger,who wants to unseat Republican Virginia Foxx asrepresentative of the 5th Congressional District.

Republican officials concur that North Carolinais critical to the outcome of the presidential contest,while vowing: Never again.“Make sure that we don’t have to look at eachother in November of 2012 and say that BarackObama won North Carolina again,” NC RepublicanParty Vice Chairman Wayne King told delegates tothe Forsyth County Republican Party on March 3.

“In2008, many of you were just like me: You didn’t thinkit could happen. Fourteen thousand votes. Countieslike Forsyth are critically important to making surewe win in 2012.”