The national media insist that the Romney campaign and SuperPACs will outstrip the Obama campaign in spending and organization. It looks different here on the ground in Northern Colorado. Colorado is a swing state, and Larimer County is one of three key swing counties in Colorado.
Estes Park is only six precincts in a county with over 150 precincts. It tends to vote like the rest of the county, making it a swing area in a swing county in–well, you get the idea.
Consider an e-mailed letter that has made the local rounds announcing that the Human Resource Director for the YMCA of the Rockies has resigned to set up an campaign office for the Obama campaign in Estes Park. Sometime soon, Estes Park will have an Obama campaign office and a full-time paid organizer for our six little precincts.
What does Estes Park have to look forward to? Here is a description of what a field organizer is expected to do from a 2008 organizer for the Obama campaign:
“I managed volunteers, created call lists, made calls, made packets for people to take with them when they were going to be going door-to-door, registered voters, decided where volunteers would go and tried to come up with more creative ways to communicate with people. When I started out a typical day was 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. We had Sundays off or we started at noon. When I became a field organizer, the day was 9 a.m. until midnight except for Fridays when it was 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. When the convention was getting closer in August, 9 a.m. to midnight was a good day. By the end of October, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. was a good day. The last week if you got to sleep at all it was a good day.”
According to the Obama campaign website, “Field Organizers (FOs) are the face of Organizing for America in communities across the country, working to advance President Obama’s and the Democrats’ agenda and grow the grassroots movement for electoral success in 2012.” The Obama campaign is still taking applications, for those interested in the task as hand. For those less inclined to join, the online interview questions are a lesson in community organizing. The last line asks about work eligibility, and includes a choice for “non-citizen seeking work authorization.” Hmm. I believe there was an Executive Order concerning that.
The Obama campaign has fifteen publicly identified field organizers for Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley and Boulder already and is obviously expanding earlier in the cycle this time. In 2008, the Obama campaign opened a campaign office in Estes Park in late September or the beginning of October. In terms of time, the effort will be tripled this time, at minimum. Barack Obama won Estes Park by 4% in 2008 (less than his statewide margin).
The Obama campaign will rely even more on intensive, paid staff work in 2012, not just Hope and wishes.