Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Democrats push to counter GOP in turnout race"

Ad Nags in the NY TIMES:
Evidence of Democratic attention to getting out the vote was on display here and in other parts of the country last week as turnout operations, many in the making for nearly two years, began to unfold their final-10-day plans.

For two cold and rainy hours the other night, Brendan Fahey, 27, a two-time Iraq war veteran, led a team of three Democratic workers on a door-knocking mission through a trim, middle-class neighborhood of brick homes in this city northwest of St. Louis. They careened from house to house - holding street maps and a computer-generated list of likely supporters gleaned from two years of market research, telephone calls and earlier visits - as they executed the final stages of a plan that began when Democratic Party strategists opened offices here 15 months ago.

In Florida, the campaign of Ron Klein, a Democrat challenging Representative E. Clay Shaw Jr., a Republican, made a final telephone canvass of voters who live in the state, but spend summers elsewhere, typically thousands of miles outside Shaw's district in southern Florida, to make sure they were returning to their winter homes by Election Day or had voted by absentee ballot. As part of the "Snowbird Program," the Klein campaign said it had tracked down the Northern addresses and telephone numbers of thousands of Democratic and independent voters.

Emboldened by polls showing rising public unhappiness with Republicans, Democrats tried to open new fronts in some unlikely places, including Kansas, where Nancy Boyda, a Democrat, is challenging Representative Jim Ryun, who is seeking a sixth term. The race is so overlooked nationally that some Democratic officials in Washington joked they would not have been able to name the Democratic challenger before last week.

Republicans said they saw no evidence that Ryun was in trouble and suggested that Democrats were trying to rattle them. Still, the Republican Party began running advertisements to defend five more incumbents, in states including Colorado and New York, who are showing signs of slipping. And President George W. Bush on Saturday began another series of swings into what had been solidly Republican territory to help generate more enthusiasm and raise money to help pay for the late advertising and voter turnout push.

In Dean's assessment of his party's get-out-the-vote apparatus, he said he thought the Republicans gained an advantage by running a centralized operation. He said that after the election, he intended to call the leaders of the House and Senate Democratic committees "to try to build a relationship the way the Republicans do it."

He added, "I don't admire anything that Republicans have done to this country, but I greatly admire their election model, and that's what we intend to build, if not surpass, by 2008."

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