A capacity crowd packed the Obama
campaign’s Winston-Salem headquarters
on West 4th Street during a grand
opening on Feb. 29 in which organizers
urged volunteers to sign up for phone banking
with neighborhood team leaders in Kernersville,
east Winston-Salem, Lexington and Iredell County.
“In between now and the election we’ve got to persuade those who voted for Obama four years ago but [feel], ‘Well, we didn’t get everything we wanted,’” Jeannie Grimes, neighborhood team leader for Kernersville, told the enthusiastic crowd of more than 200.
Grimes said the Obama campaign has been operating
phone banks at least once a week in Forsyth
County since last April.
Organizers made no effort to downplay how
critical North Carolina is to President Obama’s
reelection prospects. In 2008, Obama carried North
Carolina by a razor-thin margin of 14,177 votes, or
a 0.4 percent.
The Winston-Salem office is one of nine the
Obama campaign has opened across the state, including
Greensboro, Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Chapel
Hill, Fayetteville, Asheville and Wilmington.
“I know we cannot take this state without this
county,” said Punya Krishnappa, Triad West regional
field director, “without people like you working to
re-elect this president.”
Jesse Moore, the Obama campaign’s political
director for North Carolina, underscored the point.
“Anybody that thinks this is going to be a cakewalk is dreaming,” he said. “This is going to be a difficult, difficult climb and an uphill lift.” The Winston-Salem campaign office grand opening drew numerous Democratic candidates, including Rep. Bill Faison, who is seeking the party’s nomination for governor, and Elisabeth Motsinger, who wants to unseat Republican Virginia Foxx as representative of the 5th Congressional District.
Republican officials concur that North Carolina
is critical to the outcome of the presidential contest,
while vowing: Never again.
“Make sure that we don’t have to look at each
other in November of 2012 and say that Barack
Obama won North Carolina again,” NC Republican
Party Vice Chairman Wayne King told delegates to
the Forsyth County Republican Party on March 3.
“In 2008, many of you were just like me: You didn’t think it could happen. Fourteen thousand votes. Counties like Forsyth are critically important to making sure we win in 2012.”