As I just mentioned, the Obama campaign held a press conference this afternoon about a new voter registration drive they're kicking off on May 10. "Vote for Change" will be a 50 state national registration driv to train volunteers and send them out to register voters. Obama deputy campaign manager Steve Hildebrand was sure to emphasize that this "not just a one day deal... it's a sustained six month campaign."
So what makes this newsworthy? Well, it makes it clear that Obama's not worrying too much about whether he'll win the primary. They seem to be assuming that they will, and are proceeding as such. It's also interesting because they don't seem to be targeting any particular states, which they emphasized. They're putting as much emphasis on Wyoming as they are on Ohio, it would seem. This "will be more of an advantage to Democratic nominee .... "People are going to say why are you doing this in states that might not be critical battlegrounds in the general election ... This is not dividing them out red and blue. This is important across the nation," said Hildebrand.
More importantly though, since we're talking about voter registration, one thought that came to mind during the call was that perhaps this drawn-out primary will be really, really good for Democrats, especially in purple states. They cited the 200,000 newly registered Democrats in Pennsylvania, and the 165,000 new Dems in North Carolina (out of 178,000 total new registered voters). The primary is getting more voters out earlier, and since the Dems are the only contest in town, the candidates getting a lot more attention in these states, too.
N.C. Rep. G.K. Butterfield was also on the call, and he mentioned the effect the primary is having there, a state that many write off as red and stuck that way. "I want to dispel that rumor ... This is not a red state or blue state. This is a toss up state that if the proper message is presented to the voters, that candidate will will."