Carson City site of a new Obama campaign office
LAS VEGAS – The campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday it plans to open four new campaign offices in Nevada and add to its staff – one of which will be in Carson City.
Campaign manager David Plouffe would not say exactly how many new workers would be hired, but said there would be a total of 50 field workers in the state.
New offices in Carson City, southwest Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Pahrump, a town 60 miles outside of Las Vegas, bring the Illinois senator’s campaign office total to seven.
“Our focus has really been on building an organization precinct by precinct in Nevada,” Plouffe told reporters on a conference call, adding that the additions would increase visibility and contact with voters.
Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie will conduct the opening of the Obama for America Carson City office at 172 W. Winnie Lane. The event is set for 3 p.m. and the public is invited.
The announcement comes as Nevada’s role in the Democrats’ presidential primary is in flux, but the underlying race dynamic remains static.
The state is expected to hold one of the earliest nomination contests, although the current Jan. 19 caucus date is likely to move earlier. Democratic campaigns have been building organizations, but have devoted very limited candidate attention and almost no media spending to the state.
“We are focused on building a true precinct-level grassroots organization in each of the 1,754 precincts in Nevada,” Plouffe also said.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has not campaigned in Nevada for nearly eight weeks, Obama for five weeks.
Obama came to Carson City and other Northern Nevada locations in late May.
Former vice presidential nominee John Edwards pulled some field workers out of the state in August to fuel operations in Iowa, a state deemed critical to his campaign. He’s since made more regular campaign stops in Nevada, but lagged behind in the sort of organizing seen as key to winning a caucus.
State polls have shown Clinton with a firm lead over both Obama and Edwards. Candidate visits and grassroots organizing don’t appear to have changed that.
Rival campaigns would not comment on how their staffing numbers compare to those announced by Obama. Clinton campaign spokeswoman Hilarie Grey said only that the campaign has “several dozen” staffers. It has three campaign offices.
“We definitely have a strong organization that is reaching out to every nook and cranny of the state,” Grey said.
Edwards campaign spokesman Adam Bozzi said the former North Carolina senator’s campaign would “have the resources we need to win in Nevada.” Edwards has two campaign offices.
The campaign of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the candidate who has dedicated the most time to retail politics in Nevada, has said it has more than 30 workers on staff and three campaign offices.
Plouffe said he believed the Obama campaign was building an organization that would not be dependent on support from heavily courted labor unions.
“They’re nice to have but they’re not essential,” he said.
If you go
What: Opening of the local Obama for America campaign office
When: 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: 172 West Winnie Lane