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D.C. Obama supporters gear up for 2010 elections

Washington Post Editors

If you're waiting to see which mayoral candidate will most effectively latch onto the organization President Obama's campaign established in the District in the 2008 election, you will have to keep waiting.

More than 100 Obama enthusiasts packed Local 16 restaurant on U Street on Wednesday night to celebrate the passage of health-care reform. The event was sponsored by America's Impact, the D.C. Democratic Party, D.C. for Democracy, D.C. for Obama, D.C. Latino caucus, Generation Obama, the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, Montgomery County Young Democrats, Organizing for America, South Asians for Opportunity and Young Lawyers for Obama.

During the 2008 campaign, those groups marshaled thousands of District residents, who fanned out to swing states, especially Virginia, to work tirelessly on behalf of Obama.

The activists who showed up last night to celebrate the passage of health-care reform - many of whom are not regulars in the local District political scene - could be a ready-made force for one of the candidates for mayor. But neither Mayor Adrian M. Fenty nor his chief opponent in the September Democratic primary, Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D), had a presence at the event.

Instead of immersing themselves in a potentially divisive Democratic primary for mayor, the activists appear to be reorganizing themselves for the 2010 congressional elections. And, once again, their focus will probably be on Virginia.

"We need you to go to Virginia and stand with Tom Perriello," Jeremy Bird, deputy director of Organizing for America, told the group. He was referring to U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, a Democrat from southern Virginia who supported health-care reform but is expected to have a tough race.

In addition to Perriello, the leaders of D.C. for Obama announced their intention to work for U.S. Rep. Gerald Connolly (D), who represents parts of Northern Virginia, as well as Democratic Senate candidates in Delaware and Pennsylvania.

To organize District residents for 2010, OFA has assigned Chris Bolling to be a field organizer for the District. Bolling will host his first strategy session with District activists next Thursday at Democratic National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill.

-- Tim Craig

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 8, 2010; 1:12 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election , D.C. Council , D.C. Democrats & Republicans , Mayor Fenty , Tim Craig , Vincent C. Gray  | Tags: 2010 elections preparations, D.C. activists prepare for election, obama backers get ready for 2010  
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