Obama Plans Strong Effort in Michigan

Michigan has voted Democratic in recent years but Democrats cannot take it for granted. Obama started out behind in the state after keeping his promise not to campaign here after the primary date was moved up in violation of party rules. He began campaigning heavily here as the nomination battle wound down, and continues to fight for the state. Marc Ambinder reports that the Obama campaign plans on having about two hundred paid employees, almost twice as many as Kerry had in 2004.

Obama’s plans for Michigan can be seen in the memo sent out this morning which I will post under the fold.

TO: Michigan Campaign for Change Partners

FROM: Amy Chapman, Michigan State Director, Obama for America RE: Michigan Campaign Update DATE: July 14, 2008

Here is an update since our last meeting three weeks ago. At that time, we spoke about the structure and organizational goals of Obama for America and the Michigan Campaign for Change. We also followed up with you about existing staff and the need for additional resumes and assistance in more permanent office space. In addition, we asked for your thoughts about what has worked programmatically in past elections and how we could adapt those successful ideas to our current campaign.

Since that meeting, taking your suggestions into account, we now have a large and ever growing structure that will benefit the party and candidates up and down the ticket, not just the top of the ticket. Our progress in Michigan since Senator Obama secured the Democratic nomination has been swift, and we continue growing daily. We are confident that the unprecedented structure we are building will allow us to secure a victory for Barack Obama in Michigan while increasing the electoral success of Democrats at all levels across the state.

Senior Staff

In the past weeks, we have moved quickly to put in place a leadership team that will build and manage the largest general election campaign in Michigan history. To date, we have made the following hires:

Deputy State Director/Political Director—Michael Blake
General Election Director—Pat Maloney
Field Director—Elizabeth Wilkins
Communications Director—Brent Colburn
Constituency Vote Director – Amanda Stitt
Policy Director – Jenna Pilat
Director of Travel—Barb McCallahan

We are confident in the expertise and experience that this team brings to the table. They represent a balance of experience in Michigan, nationally, and with the Obama campaign. They will all be looking to work with you to leverage your expertise and insights as we build towards Election Day.

Field Staff/Operation

To date we have hired close to 90 staffers (mostly field organizers) and will have another 80 (mostly field organizers) hired by early August. In total we will have a minimum of 150 field organizers throughout the state working through the Michigan Democratic Party/Campaign for Change. These organizers will oversee neighborhood teams, where people will lead the local change in their communities by registering voters, knocking on doors, making phone calls and securing more supporters and volunteers for a Michigan victory.
In addition, there are 5 full-time constituency voter coordinators who will oversee the execution of our outreach efforts to a minimum of 13 different constituencies ranging from Women to Veterans.

This is the largest field mobilization that the state has ever seen in any election. These organizers will be working with the nearly 2,000 precinct captains that have been recruited by the state Democratic Party over the past four years and with the local activists and volunteers that you have worked so closely with. Activists will also be working as a part of neighborhood volunteer teams with Obama-recruited volunteers to do the important program work that will help all of us win in November .

As all of us know, this volunteer, neighborhood-based, person-to-person contact, starting now will be the most important way we can properly introduce Barack Obama to voters and fight back when the inevitable falsehoods and intentional inaccuracies spread by our opposition.

These 150 field organizers will be supported by over 50 additional paid staffers, bringing our total in state presence to over 200 paid staff.

As a comparison, the Kerry-Edwards general election effort in 2004 employed 112 staffers, including 87 field staff.

One of the most gratify things about putting together our team, with your assistance, is that our staff represents not just those who had been with Obama early on, but Clinton supporters, Edwards supporters and those who had been neutral during the primaries. I will send our current staff list and contact information later this week.


We are currently in the midst of finalizing office space across the state. We will have a total of at least 40 offices to start, with other offices opening as we move closer Election Day. Once again, this presence is more than ever before. We are also, as I mentioned at the meeting, looking to co-locate with as many local candidates and local parties as possible to help pool our resources and benefit the ticket. We anticipate that at least three-quarters of these offices will be shared spaces. This co-locating will increase our ability to coordinate our efforts with candidates up and down the ballot in every corner of the state. We will be getting you office opening information later this week as well.

Moving Forward

I want to continue to emphasize that the Michigan Obama for America campaign and the Campaign for Change is committed to working with each of you and your organizations and supporters to create a plan that helps all Democrats this Fall. As we continue to refine our programs and targets, we want your input so that everyone benefits from our collective efforts.

We have met with many of you individually and appreciate the time you have spent in getting our team up to speed. I look forward to our larger meeting later in the week to give you more specific information.

Please feel free to contact me at REDACTED. if you have any questions or comments or would like additional information before then.

Thanks again.

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