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.

Cell: 404-xxx-xxxx
email: xxxxxxxxxxx

Philip Braswell
Ohio Victory
Cuyahoga County
Field Manager

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.

  • anastasjoy

    “Foot soldiers for freedom?” That is really corny and pompous sounding. If they go out in the field with that attitude, they aren’t going to persuade many people. Not that there are too many people here in “Coyahoga” who could be easily persuaded to swing over to RMoney. Oh, and OFA never fully closed their office here in Cleveland at Shaker Square, although they did have a “grand reopening” of sorts — in 2010. The RMoney campaign has little hope of catching up in “Coyahoga.”

  • nowaRINO

    “they aren’t going to persuade many people” in “Coyahoga” in the first place. It is a lost cause, they are not going to use up resourses there. So send someone with very little experience to gain some experience.

  • missskeptic

    About 5000 people showed up in Powell last Sat. for a Romney/Ryan event. Sounds like a lot of people, right? But Powell is hardly a typical American city – it’s an incredibly wealthy city. Not only that, there is a huge LDS presence there (they have a ward meeting house there). People in Powell truly believe that the rest of the world lives like they do – I used to live there myself and one of the happiest days of my life was the day we moved out. Ryan also managed to round up “a couple thousand” (according to NPR) folks at Miami U., his alma mater, also in the center of Boeher country. this tells me there is not a lot of enthusiam in the Buckeye State. I do not always agree with Mr. Redfern, but I fully support his decision to keep the OFA offices running and up to speed – there is no better-organized state Democratic party in the nation.

  • APG

    Not to get too nitpicky, but this guy knows how to spell “Cuyahoga;” it’s correct in his signature line. He just didn’t proofread (or did a really sorry job of it). Case in point: The third sentence, which begins “If doesn’t require a lot of time” instead of “It doesn’t require a lot of time.”
    The rest of your points are perfectly valid. And although I don’t claim to be an expert on campaign coordination, I’d like to think that if I were, I would tell everyone working for me to make extra-extra-extra sure they don’t misspell any proper nouns, lest they make us all look like out-of-touch jackasses.

  • Dmoore

    Romney just figured from the start that he could buy this thing. And he may still be right. Most of America is for sale anyway. Might as well add the presidency.

  • Spitfiremk1

    You mean that even the Ohio Turnpike is up for sale? There was an event at Maumee yesterday concerning that issue. The only ones who were in favor of it were Jerry Wray and a roly poly little red-faced guy named Hodges. I shudder to think of what kind of sales will happen if Romney and Ryan got into office.

  • NoVestedInterest

    Campaigns should locate one person within their staff whom they can count on to be a good proofreader, for spelling and grammar. That person is likely to be older, schooled before the days of texting, etc. Run their communications by that person and they’ll do well most of the time.

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