The New York Times highlighted both the Raleigh mayor and Wake County Public School Board in an article today about early presidential election campaigning.
Despite two Republican candidates in the race, Independent Nancy McFarlane (who was endorsed by local Democrats, and about everyone else) won the mayor election quite easily. Also, the agenda that the Tea Party crew was trying to push through the school system was dismissed by this year's elections, which instated a Democratic majority in the school board.
The New York Times states that these two elections are definitive examples of how the Obama Administration has started mobilizing its voters across multiple (typically) red states, including North Carolina, in preparation for next year's presidential election. The administration put together a campaign to encourage its supporters to vote in the recent local elections. A great campaign that gives it support from the city, to the state and (in their final hope) the federal levels.
Obama was the first Democratic presidential candidate to win North Carolina since 1976. With this early push, it could happen again. If so, it would be the first time since 1962 that a Democrat has won the state in two consecutive elections.
As North Carolina Republicans tell it, the Obama for America volunteers stole in under cover of night and stayed, undetected — noticed belatedly only because of election results across the state.
“It was very scary,” said Chris Sinclair, a strategist for Billie Redmond, the Republican candidate for mayor in Raleigh. “You don’t know what’s going on until you wake up after Election Day and go, ‘Oh my gosh, what happened?’ ”
What happened was that candidates supported by Democrats trounced Republicans in the Raleigh and Charlotte mayoral races this fall, and even wrested control of the Wake County school board from Republicans associated with the Tea Party.
It was only after the damage was done that local party leaders learned of the hidden hand of thousands of Obama for America volunteers and staff members. Never publicizing their work, they went door-to-door across the state, successfully getting their voters out to the polls in a highly effective dry run for 2012.
Mr. Obama’s aides point to the victories in North Carolina and elsewhere as vindication of their insistence that all is not as bleak for them as the Democratic chatter has it. But, in a series of interviews about their strategy for the year ahead, they also indicated that they knew they were in for a feisty slog, one that would look and feel quite different from Mr. Obama’s first, uplifting presidential campaign.
See the full article here.