It’s no secret that Mitt Romney’s ground game in Ohio is lacking. My neighborhood Obama groups have been busy since last fall, long before Republicans had even decided on a nominee, but Romney didn’t announce the head of his Ohio operations – a guy from Kentucky named J. Scott Jennings – until May. And he didn’t open his first field office in Ohio until June.
With a race this close, the ground game is going to matter. And Romney is late to the game.
At last count, Obama had 65 field offices in Ohio. Romney has about half that many. More importantly, Romney’s plan seems to rely on lots of well-paid, out-of-state field organizers – the kind of folks who charge hotel rooms to the campaign and work an unenthusiastic nine-to-five schedule and who spend more time using FaceTime to talk with their girlfriends back home than they do talking with and learning about the people they are supposed to be rallying for their boss.
Back in June TPM ran this quote from Chairman Chris Redfern that presciently summed up Romney’s plan:
“They’ll try to ship in activists who won’t know how to pronounce ‘Xenia,’ let alone know the neighborhood,” he said. “They won’t have the connection, literally, the cultivated relationship that we have with voters in those communities across the state. It’s something we’ve built since late 2005 early 2006, we’re very proud of it and we’ll be successful in this state because of it.”
I say “presciently” because I receieved a copy of an email sent by a Romney field organizer yesterday that perfectly illustrates the chairman’s point.
Subject: Foot Soldiers for Freedom
I’m looking for volunteers to knock on doors for Ohio Victory in Coyahoga County. It’s a great way to have a real impact on the election, and help Republicans from Romney/Ryan all the way down the ticket. If doesn’t require a lot of time and you can do it anytime that’s convenient to you. If you’re interested please contact me.
Be a Foot Soldier for Freedom and contact me.
The email was sent by a guy named Philip Braswell who was hired by the Romney campaign to work as a Field Manager in Cuyahoga County. He’s from from Atlanta, Georgia. Strike one.
The email was sent to a almost 400 people, all of whom had their email addresses included in the CC list (I excluded the list because I’m a nice guy) which is visible to every recipient. Rookie mistake. Strike two.
Even worse: the quality of the list is pretty damn poor, as indicated by the fact that I received a copy of the email. We’ll call this strike two and a half.
But the third strike – the one that definitively proves Redfern’s point – is that the guy misspelled “Cuyahoga County”.
I’m guessing he can’t pronounce it either.