Battleground Virginia: The Ground Game

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by Janet Roach, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on October 26, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 26 at 6:25 PM

NORFOLK - A battle is being waged and the foot soldiers are on the front line.

"We're not leaving a single stone unturned," says Virginia GOP Victory Chairman Pete Snyder.

He adds the GOP has built in the last year the largest grassroots army in the history of Virginia to get out the vote for presidential Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

Republicans are dovetailing on the success Bob McDonnell had in winning the governorship in the Commonwealth in 2009.

Campaign officials say they have more than doubled the number of voter contacts that McDonnell made in the same amount of time.  In mid-October, the campaign celebrated four and half million voter contacts in the state, all made either by phone, on-line or face-to-face.

However, if a volunteer knocks on a door and no one answers, the volunteer leaves behind literature and that counts as a voter contact.

Every day, volunteers hit the streets canvassing for votes or spend hours in some 29 GOP victory offices across the state making phone calls to voters. But unlike the Obama campaign, the offices are run by the Republican party and operate on behalf of the GOP ticket.

The Obama offices primarily are set up to drive up votes for the presidential race.

Va. Beach residents Mary Ross and Paulette Reed are Romney volunteers. Ross says she does it because she believes Romney will make positive economic changes. Reed says she feels compelled to get more involved in the political process beyond just voting.

"Every election is important. It's an opportunity for us to speak and to be heard," says Reed.

As Reed and Ross canvass General Stuart Drive in Virginia Beach, they find several Romney supporters in a neighborhood believed by the campaign to be a Republican stronghold, part of the strategy to making a connection that will motivate their base to the polls.

Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter expresses doubt that the Romney voter contacts would translate into votes. Although, the Obama campaign would not share their own voter contact numbers, Cutter says the ground game is where they're strongest.

"We've knocked on tens thousands of doors and have had tens of thousands of conversations with people," she says.

Like the Romney campaign, Obama volunteers pour over neighborhoods talking to voters. Phone banks are set up in some 60 offices across the state.

Cutter says after the 2008 election, Obama campaign staff never left the state and have been reaching out to voters ever since. Additional paid staffers have been brought in from all over the country and are housed with local Obama supporters.

Autumn Jones is from Michigan. She says she signed up with the Obama campaign after her father lost his job in the auto industry. Her mother sold her wedding ring so Autumn could stay in college. After the auto bailout, her father got his job back.

"I had to after that. As soon as I got out of college, I signed up with his campaign," recalls Autumn.

 

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