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On the Road: Española, New Mexico

We’ll have a post later about the Albuquerque/Santa Fe-specific ground game, but yesterday we sweltered in Española, New Mexico for Barack Obama’s rally and got an orgy of photos. Then we got food poisoning. (Show a little pride in your caesar salad, Albertson’s.)

Vote Your Numbers -

Be sure to check out Brett’s Española slideshow below. Just under 10,000 people saw Obama go both on the attack (John McCain doesn’t know whether he’s Barry Goldwater of Dennis Kucinich!”) and into the meat and potatoes of economic issues. “I don’t want him stealing my lines, I want him stealing some of my ideas!” He also bluntly told Hispanic voters “it’s time to vote your numbers.” 170,000 registered Hispanic voters didn’t vote in the 2004 election, and Hispanics are roughly 40% of the state population here.

Gloves Off -

But here is the most important ground game story of the day. Bloomberg published a scoop on Catalist, Barack Obama’s answer to VoterVault, the Republican database that has allowed for such specialized and efficient voter targeting.

… by using Catalist the Obama campaign is able to generate data as detailed as lists of swing voters who are home in the afternoon in a six-block neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. The list can even suggest which voters would be receptive to a pitch based on Obama’s “change” theme, and which may be more interested in his health-care or energy policies.

The RNC owns VoterVault; ironically Obama has to buy his access from Harold Ickes.

That distinction allows Catalist to work directly with like- minded third-party groups such as the League of Conservation Voters or Planned Parenthood. VoterVault is barred by campaign- finance laws from working directly with Republican-leaning groups such as the National Rifle Association.

This is a Big Deal. Republicans argue that VoterVault is still better:

Amber Wilkerson, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said VoterVault has an advantage over Catalist: “We’ve been doing it a lot longer.” She also said the database can update information on millions of supporters through state Republican groups.

We encountered this Republican confidence in Nevada as well. We’ve done it longer; we’re the champ. We have the belts. We do the parades. And it’s true. Republicans have dominated in terms of ground game technology. But the fact remains: if you are now using relatively equal tools which allow greater precision in voter contact, whoever has more organizers, volunteers, dials and knocks is going to do better getting out its vote.

Check back later today for an update on the state’s ground action in Albuquerque/Santa Fe. We’re off to the Four Corners area – where both campaigns have a presence in Farmington and Obama has an office in Shiprock, and then up to Durango, Colorado tonight.

Sikhs for Obama -