Coordinating Va Democrats: No Simple Task
The Virginia Democratic Party's decision to add Jim Wilson, a longtime Republican operative, to the payroll of its coordinated campaign may be a sign that Democratic efforts this year may not be so coordinated after all.
The coordinated Democratic campaign has been established to boost U.S. Senate candidate Mark R. Warner, congressional candidates and Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), the party's presumptive nominee for president.
Although he is a Republican, Wilson supports Warner and travels the state putting up campaign signs for him.
But at Saturday's U.S. Senate debate between Warner and Republican Jim Gilmore, Wilson was seen with a sign in his truck that included Warner's name and that of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the presumptive GOP nominee for president.
Kevin Hall, a Warner spokesman, said Wilson plans to put the sign in his own yard. Wilson used to work for former Republican senator George Allen.
"He is obviously a Republican, but he likes Mark Warner enough he is willing to work for the Democratic Party," said Jared Leopold, a spokesman for the Virginia Democratic Party. "As far as what he wants to put up in his yard, that is his decision. He is an independent contractor."
Leopold added Wilson "will not put up a single sign for us that has a Republican name on it" as part of his regular sign duty for Warner. Warner is making a big push to try to get Republicans to vote for him.
But will Wilson also put up signs for Obama and Democratic congressional candidates?
"We'll find someone else to put up Obama signs," Leopold said.
Leopold said Wilson is being hired as a "paid consultant," but he declined to release Wilson's salary.
Although officials in the Warner and Obama campaigns stress they are working together closely, the two efforts at times appear to running on parallel instead of integrated tracks. Warner's and the Virginia Democratic Party's coordinated campaigns are based in Alexandria. The Obama campaign is based in Richmond.
The Obama campaign also has decided to establish its own regional offices across the state instead of solely relying on those established by the party's coordinated campaign.
Officials within the Obama campaign said that decision was made because Obama plans to target different voters than Warner does. But the two campaigns still do a lot of work together, most notably joint canvassing projects.
Washington Post editors
July 23, 2008; 11:56 AM ET
Categories: Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/Local , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Tim Craig
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