MANCHESTER, NH — Which candidate has the most offices in New Hampshire? No, it’s not Mitt Romney. That would be President Obama, whose campaign has seven spread out across the state — more than the rest of the field combined. Romney has one central office in Manchester, for the record.
It’s not exactly the most competitive primary in the world, but Obama is on the ballot in New Hampshire today too on the Democratic side and his campaign has its own lineup of volunteer events and celebrations planned in the Granite State. I stopped by their Manchester office on Tuesday to find a small cadre of Democrats hitting the phones to remind voters to turn out to vote.
“While [the Republicans] are getting the attention, behind the scenes we’re building up our organization,” Obama spokesman Frank Benenati told TPM.
The walls are covered in hand-drawn infographics, stats, and general motivational material from supporters. “I’m in because he brought the troops home,” one reads. “I’m in because he likes our neighbors and doesn’t want to build a fence around Mexico,” reads another. “I’m in because Obama knows that the president of Uzbekistan is Islam Karimov,” reads yet another.
The real point of recent phone drives isn’t to run up Obama’s winning percentage over such competitors as performance artist Vermin Supreme and anti-abortion extremist Randall Terry, of course (thought it can’t hurt). Volunteers are piggybacking off the interest in the GOP race to update voter contacts, reach out to new volunteers and generally keep local Democrats aware that their team is on the field as well after having to endure weeks of Republican attacks. The campaign says they’ve held 500 events in the state since Obama’s re-election effort kicked off in April.
“It’s been a little disheartening,” volunteer Ed Fanjoy, a credit analyst who came up from Massachusetts to help out, said of the Republican primary in between phone calls. “The media circus around the Republicans is just so much fun, I don’t blame Jon Stewart for wanting to pay more attention to it. It’s human nature to watch a train wreck instead of something working well.”
Democrats will be hosting a slew of parties throughout the state tonight to watch the results come in, including one in Manchester with former governor and current Senator Jeanne Shaheen. Just as Obama did on election night in Iowa, Vice President Joe Biden will be hosting a webcast to rally supporters.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.