Nevada becomes key to isle Obama camp
Hawaii supporters will head to the state to push for votes from former residents
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With Hawaii considered a safe bet for Democrats in the general election, Hawaii supporters for presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama plan to focus some attention on swing state Nevada, where an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 Hawaii residents have moved in the past decade.
Andy Winer, Obama state coordinator, says he plans to steer volunteers to help with the Illinois senator's presidential campaign in Nevada, one of a dozen up-for-grabs states that could tip the race. Winer calls it part of a 50-state strategy for Obama.
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Figuring that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama is likely to do well in the state where he was born and raised, local Obama supporters are planning to move the campaign offshore.
Andy Winer, Obama state coordinator, says he plans to steer local volunteers to help with the Illinois senator's presidential campaign in Nevada. During the Nevada caucus in January, the Hawaii Obama network placed 3,000 calls to Nevada residents, Winer said yesterday in an interview.
"We will be extending the grass-roots field support by communicating with ex-Hawaii residents in swing states such as Nevada," Winer said.
Between 12,000 and 10,000 Hawaii residents have moved to Nevada in the past decade, according to census figures, and the political impact is considerable, Winer says.
"There is a large and vibrant community of ex-Hawaii folks living there, and we are hoping to get up some events that would be Hawaii-based," Winer said.
First, Winer said, the local Obama campaign will look to identify Hawaii residents now living in Nevada and then figure out ways to contact them.
"It is not like Nevada voter files list if they are former Hawaii voters, so we are attempting to do work on both the data side and to get the word out to Hawaii residents that we want to know how to get in touch with people living in Nevada," Winer said.
The Hawaii connection is expected to be such a draw that Winer figures the local campaign could bring Hawaii spokespersons to Las Vegas and Reno during the campaign.
Local Republican spokesman Adam Deguire says the Democrats might be a step ahead of themselves by planning out-of-state campaigns.
"I believe it would be foolish for local Democrats to overlook Hawaii in this competitive election year," said Deguire, GOP Hawaii executive director. "We are focused on winning the state of Hawaii for John McCain."
Winer calls it part of a 50-state strategy for the Obama campaign.
"I think we will be able to have liaisons from here to help identify leaders in the expat Hawaii community. ... States that are expected to do well for Obama can provide support for other states," Winer said.
Nevada is considered one of a dozen swing states that could vote for either Obama or McCain.
The latest Nevada political polls show Obama trailing McCain by 6 percentage points, but earlier this year the polls were reversed with Obama ahead of McCain.
Winer said that if either Washington state or Oregon comes into play in the fall election, Hawaii might be able to help mobilize support there because of strong Hawaii ties in both areas.