Obama Campaign Pulling Up Stakes in North Dakota

According to the Associated Press, the Obama campaign is pulling out of North Dakota, a state that appeared to possibly be on the map, but also a state that the Democrats had not carried in more than 40 years (or gotten more than 43 percent in more than 30 years).

Barack Obama, who has deployed more than 50 staffers in North Dakota in an attempt to become the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since 1964, is pulling out.
An Obama spokeswoman, Amy Brundage, confirmed Sunday that the campaign's North Dakota staffers were being sent to Minnesota and Wisconsin, where recent polls have shown a tight race between Obama and Republican John McCain.

She declined to say how many campaign workers were being shifted, but other Democratic activists put the number at more than 50. Obama has opened 11 North Dakota campaign offices and run television advertising in the state, which is unusual for a Democratic presidential candidate.

McCain's campaign has no paid staff or offices in North Dakota.

The reaction from many has been, see, we have the same map as always, that Obama isn't running a 50-state campaign. Rubbish. Two of the swingiest states this year -- Virginia and Colorado -- were not genuinely on the map four years ago, nor have they been among the list of most contested states consistently or even infrequently over the last four decades. Even a state like Indiana, which George W. Bush won by more than 20 points in 2004, is in play.

I will be updating race rankings here in the next couple of days, and indeed it will show a map with fewer states in play than there were a few months ago. So what. That's what happens in campaigns. But in general, there appear to be more states in play this fall than there have been in other recent elections, and the states in play tend to be redder than the ones that have been on the map at this juncture (particularly Virginia, Colorado and Indiana) -- facts that greatly undermine the notion that we're playing on the same electoral map as we always have.

Tags: electoral college, ND-Pres, North Dakota, White House 2008 (all tags)

Comments

22 Comments

Not surprising or alarming

The important thing is that they created infrastructure in North Dakota which will become invaluable in upcoming elections.  

Obama can give his e-mail and donor lists to local Democrats, and give them an essential organizing edge in upcoming years.

I think this was a good move; they needed to get people into Wisconsin and Minnesota to shore them up, and they'll do more good than in the currently fairly insignificant Dakotas.

by Dracomicron 2008-09-22 09:25AM | 0 recs
ND was always a long shot....

Anyone have current numbers on ND?

Has it gone even MORE red post convention?

I would not be surprised if that is a state that the Palin bounce is lasting.

I would agree, time to be mobile and flexible.

It was worth a shot, but if they internals show it soldily for McCain, move the resources where they can do some good.

by WashStateBlue 2008-09-22 09:29AM | 0 recs
The last polls done there...

Have shown a double-digit lead for McBush in both Dakotas. They were long-shots from the beginning, so it's better off for Obama to send those staffers to defend Minnesota & Wisconsin. But as long as formerly "Solid Red States" like Montana, Indiana, and North Carolina are in play, that bodes well for us. With Democrats mostly on offense this year (instead of the defense we had to play in 2000 & 2004), we're in a good position to win in November. :-)

by atdleft 2008-09-22 09:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Campaign Pulling Up Stakes

I don't see them pulling out of many other states, Montana? NC, in for the long haul looks like. Maybe MO, which seems increasingly a McCain state. Good to see Obama is going in more for MN and WI.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-09-22 09:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Campaign Pulling Up Stakes

Yeah, McCain's bounce appears to have subsided in North Carolina. It will still be tough for Obama to win there, as it always has been, but it doesn't seem particularly likely that he will pull out there, either -- especially considering the upside in the state (15 electoral votes) is significantly higher than it is in North Dakota (3 EVs).

by Jonathan Singer 2008-09-22 09:45AM | 0 recs
Yes, this is a relief...

I remember Kerry pulling out of state after state in 2004. With the battleground narrowing down to pretty much just Ohio then, we were really in trouble. But with the battleground expanded this year to states like Colorado, Virginia, Indiana, and other formerly "traditional Red States", we have more paths to 270 electoral votes... Which means more roads to a Democratic Victory. :-)

by atdleft 2008-09-22 09:46AM | 0 recs
Obama Campaign Pulling Up Stakes in North Dakota

New polling from North Carolina shows it's still in play. We have expanded the map, but a 50-state strategy doesn't mean throwing resources at unwinnable races. It means building infrastructure everywhere and recruiting the best possible candidates, so we can take advantage of close races or "Macaca" moments.

by Jawis 2008-09-22 09:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Campaign Pulling Up Stakes in North Dako

Good news...new SUSA poll has Obama up 6 in VA!

by neko608 2008-09-22 09:51AM | 0 recs
actually no

the crosstabs show the AA pop being 19% and mccain getting 14% of that.  so, sobtract 10 from mac (which seems likely) add to obama, and it's a 52-45 obama lead.

by Doug Tuttle 2008-09-22 10:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Campaign

50 staffers in a red state with 3 EV's does not make sense this close to election day anyway. Moving them to Minnesota and Wisconsin should help shore up to states that WILL be blue come November.

We always knew the map would get narrow and now we know which "new" states we are fighting in and which ones we still have work to do to make viable.

This is great for us in reality.

by JDF 2008-09-22 09:58AM | 0 recs
Negative 3 percent

That would mean that the pollster needed to poll 3% more people than they did poll. They may have stopped for some reason before they got to the end of their list. Something like that. :)

by Jeff Wegerson 2008-09-22 10:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Campaign Pulling Up Stakes

What a waste. 50 staffers! That's $125k a month, plus TV! For a very very VERY long shot at 3 electoral votes, which, if he'd won them, would have most likely been EV's number 350-352 or something (i.e. meaningless). Thank God BO has oodles of cash (thanks to us) and can afford some idiotic tilting at windmills. I can forgive shooting for Missouri or Georgia or someplace that actually could have been symbolically important. But North Dakota, yikes.

by ColoradoGuy 2008-09-22 10:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Campaign Pulling Up Stakes

they should leave the tv ads.  mccain won't ad anyway, and it's a cheap state.  the staffers however, are much more valuable, and yes, should be sent to surrounding swing states.

by Doug Tuttle 2008-09-22 10:34AM | 0 recs
Waste?

Just think of all those volunteers who are invested in politics now, and very well could be called on for the 2010 mid-terms or, more probably, the 2012 presidential.  If things go well with a President Obama, it will help downticket races and eventually turn North Dakota blue down the road.

Getting organization, volunteer involvement, and infrastructure in place is worth the cost.

by Dracomicron 2008-09-22 10:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Campaign Pulling Up Stakes

You can't know which states will be competitive until you make a serious effort in them.

A year ago, it wasn't obvious that, say, Virginia or Colorado or Montana or Indiana would be better bets for Obama than ND was. You discover these things by campaigning and investing resources.

by vinc 2008-09-22 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Campaign Pulling Up Stakes

What rubbish.  The real value of having the presence in ND was to help the locals win the three additional seats in the State Senate needed to create Democratic majority.  South Dakota needs the same number for its state senate to go blue.

The structure the leave behind is no doubt in large part to make sure these goals are accomlished.

by Irvingguy 2008-09-22 01:03PM | 0 recs
Good Move

This is a good move. I'm glad they are fluid.

by NJDEM1 2008-09-22 10:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Campaign Pulling Up Stakes

Thus far Obama pulled out of ND and GA, though there are conflicting reports about the Peach State. McCain reportedly folded tent in New Mexico, looks like he's giving up on IA and stopped any foolish talk of competing in CA. Mcain are making defensive plays in NC, WI and MN. Obama is gearing up to put more down on FL (I wish he wouldn't) and I heard he's sniffing around West Virginia. I think pulling out of MO would be foolish as Kerry really screwed up by doing so. There is too much opportunity, especially in the St. Louis area, to pull out.

by RandyMI 2008-09-22 10:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Campaign Pulling Up Stakes

polls show obama very close in fl.  worse case scenareo, it wastes mccain's time and money.

by Doug Tuttle 2008-09-22 10:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Campaign

50-state strategy doesn't mean throwing major resources at every single state, no matter how red.  Obama gave it a shot, that's what matters.  Who knows, maybe we will be surprised on election day and he will get within 10% (which would be a massive shift from past elections).  Perhaps his temporary investment will help the Democrats maintain a presence in the state legislature.  Maybe that will help keep the party growing and able to find strong replacements for Dorgan, Conrad, and Pomeroy when they eventually retire.

For a state as small as North Dakota, a little money goes a long way.

by Skaje 2008-09-22 10:42AM | 0 recs
To be fair

Virginia and Colorado (and Nevada) have been trending blue for years.  'The Emerging Democratic Majority' focused heavily on these states and they appear to be on track to making the authors look like prophets.

As for ND, I think Obama had similar thoughts to Bush's in 2000.  Remember Bush thought he could redraw the map.  He sank 13 million into California and campaigned there.

 

by RichardFlatts 2008-09-22 11:08AM | 0 recs
The good news is...

While North Dakota was a longshot, the return on investment there and in Montana as well is actually well worth it and the infrastructure left behind makes all the difference.

I might add that if North Dakota were to go blue, carrying Ohio or Michigan (though not both) becomes less necessary.

Another state that gets no love is West Virginia. If Hillary is willing to put her people out in force there it could get interesting. People forget WVa was blue in 1988.

If Obama carries WV, he could lose one of his western states and have some room to work in.

by camaxtli 2008-09-22 03:37PM | 0 recs

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