My point is much of that area if not most of it is outside of Appalachia. West Virginia for the most part remained the same with the exception of the most southern part and the northern panhandle - probably not coincidentally the areas where the information the misrepresentation of his remarks to the San Fran. Chronicle would hurt us. Now we held on, it appears, to most of our UMWA, but many miners, particularly those doing MTR, are not union represented.
However, it keeps getting labeled an Appalachian map when Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, western Tenn., Louisiana, etc., are not in Appalachia. In addition, many of those new blue areas are in the northern part of Appalachia (Pa., western NY) as well as parts of western NC.
In the primary we had a very active core of volunteers out here. Then we got a couple of decent field organizers, but others were clearly resentful the primary was still going on and didn't want to be there and had no desire to listen to any of the locals. We were sent to canvass in places that made no sense time wise. Then when Obama gave up here and didn't campaign like Clinton did for the state, many volunteers who had given of their time felt they had wasted their efforts. If he wasn't going to fight to win the state, the thinking went, why should they? We lost a heck of a lot of volunteers who never came back due to some bad field organizers and the disappointment at the primary results. It got better when the Campaign for Change began, but there were months lost when nothing was done. The campaign here wasn't run by Obama's people. It was run by people from Gov. Joe Manchin's campaign and Sen. Jay Rockefeller's reelection campaign. We got 1 visit from Biden and 1 vist from Bill Clinton. That was it.
I like when simple people who clearly don't read the diaries give simple answers. It makes it so much easier since I don't have to bother with a thoughtful answer. If you had read the diary, you'd see I had even linked to the map you include. You'd also see that much of that belt, as I explain, lies outside of Appalachia.
If you knew anything about the campaign here in West Virginia, you'd also know there are many reasons why Obama's campaign sucked here too.
The late breaking issue of coal from the San Fran. Chronicle interview cost us a few percentage points and the lack of campaign appearances here by Obama also cost us. If we got the attention paid as the Other Virginia, we might have pulled it off, but as it is I believe that we got the race close enough at one point that McCain and the RNC ended up pouring resources into the state. Those were resources he didn't have for Indiana, North Carolina, etc. So we did our part, I believe.
The Rasmussen poll taken June 2-3 showed Obama within 8 of John McCain. As you remember, Hillary Clinton had not yet dropped out then. The coordinated campaign currently has 5 field offices and 27 paid staffers. Basically Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller have turned over their reelection campaign staffs to the campaign. So we have 27 West Virginians with experience running and winning campaigns here, which Obama didn't have in the primary. Most of the Obama staff here were from elsewhere.
I had several posts here describing how the Obama volunteers were much larger than the Clinton volunteers but Clinton was much more popular than Obama because of the familiarity.
If Obama campaigns here more than he did in the primary - two days, including a perfunctory stop the day before the primary election - I think he'd be surprised at the results. I don't put much stock in surrogates campaigning for anyone - with this caveat. The Clintons remain highly popular here and if Hillary and Bill tour the state as hard as they did in the primary it'd pay off big.
After NC and Indiana, Obama made a tactical decision to de-emphasis WV and the other remaining states to de-escalate the importance of them so they became less meaningful wins for her. She outspent Obama 3-to-1 and made 10 times the number of campaign stops. That paid off for her with a blow out, but she was very popular in the first place. I hate generalities but one that I'll accept about WVians is they love fighters and Hillary Clinton has been fighting well for decades. When you're at the end of your rope, you want a fighter in your corner. If she comes here and tells people Obama is in their corner and will fight as hard for them as she would, that would mean a lot.
Keep in mind, too, McCain is taking the state for granted. One field office with one staffer. This state is dominated by Democrats from the governor's mansion, to 4 out of 5 Congressional reps, to the House of Delegates, the state senate, the auditor, attorney general, agriculture commissioner, Supreme Court. Reps have one Congressional seat and the Secretary of State. Anne Barth will knock Shelley out (with our help) and Betty Ireland is stepping down of SofS and the Republican opponent to our great candidate Natalie Tennant isn't sure he really wants to run anymore.
This state went solidly blue - even Dukakis in 88 and Carter in 80 - for decades with few exceptions. Al Gore took the state for granted in 00 and we've all paid dearly. In 04 many WVians told me they liked Kerry but thought it would send the wrong message internationally to change presidents in the middle of a war.
McCain is outspending Obama on advertising here - JS probably has the numbers - but can't raise his numbers over 46 percent. Obama's numbers keep improving.
Can we win? I don't know. But we're sure as hell gonna try.
It really depends on what part of the state you're in. WV tends to get lumped in as one big hunk of Appalachia, but the regions of the state are quite different. Southern WV has a lot of evangelicals. But they're also people who keep re-electing the Arab-American Nick Rahall, who is anti-war and an early backer of Obama, to Congress by large margins. In our comments, we've had southern WV evangelicals who've debated how well Obama won't and would fare with them.
Northern Panhandle is more like Western Pa. Eastern Panhandle of WV is more like an outer suburb of D.C. - a lot of evangelicals and some fire breathing kind, but not like the southern evangelicals.