by David Safier
Depending on the breaks, the Obama campaign could be working Arizona big time.
President Obama’s re-election campaign is dispatching workers across Arizona’s college campuses and Latino neighborhoods this spring, registering as many new voters as they can in an organized, three-month effort to determine whether they can put this unlikely state into play for Democrats this November.
Mr. Obama’s aides said they closely monitored the organizing here and would assess the result of their work over the next few months to see whether it made sense to pour money and resources into Arizona this fall.
The push is focusing on getting Hispanics and students registered and to the polls.
College students in Arizona are legally entitled to residency, and thus are able to vote, after living here for 30 days. The Latino population has nearly doubled over the past 10 years — it now makes up 30 percent of the overall population, and about 19 percent of the voting age population — though Democrats have long been frustrated over their lack of success at registering Latino voters and getting them to the polls. The announcement by Richard Carmona, a former United States surgeon general, who is Latino, that he would run as a Democrat for an open Senate seat here has stirred hopes that his presence could pump up Latino participation this fall.
Joe Biden is due in Phoenix this Thursday, and Michelle Obama will be in Tucson April 30 (complete information a few posts down), signalling an increased interest in Arizona. If the Obama campaign makes a big push in the state, every other Democratic candidate will benefit.