Four years ago, Barack Obama became the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the state of Virginia since the Lyndon Johnson landslide election of 1964. And Obama won decisively in Virginia. Part of that success in 2008 was a well-organized "get-out-the-vote" operation.
The Obama campaign now is trying to replicate that success. Scores of volunteers showed up at field offices throughout Northern Virginia, Saturday.
At a training session in Arlington, field organizer Michael Snidal told the group: even though recent polls show Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney in Virginia, the state remains in play, and a big turnout will be essential to guaranteeing a Democratic victory.
The volunteers came from as far away as Baltimore to canvass, operate a phone bank, or register people to vote.
Lynn Parker and Ed Cooney, a married couple from Arlington, were among this weekend's volunteers. Parker is upset that Republican-dominated Virginia has moved, in recent years, to restrict abortion rights. And she fears the Republican party platform which, essentially, promises to outlaw abortion.
Parker said she fears, "[the] potential closing down of abortion clinics in Virginia and across the country. The things that women have to go through to have an abortion, now. It's, it's just mind-blowing."
Husband Ed Cooney believes Barack Obama is simply the better candidate for working people. "He cares about kids that [need]... a school lunch," said Cooney. "[Obama] cares about older people, make sure they can protect themselves in getting Medicare. I think he cares about people getting adequate housing. You take a look around here, adequate housing is hard to find."
Parker and Cooney spent part of the day canvassing targeted households, where voting in the past has been sporadic. Other volunteers worked from a bank of phones, trying to drum up support and enthusiasm for the Democratic nominee. And more volunteers simply offered to register voters as people walked by on the sidewalk.
Since Northern Virginia went big for Obama, four years ago, Democrats believe any new voters here will likely help Obama rather than Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee. And the volunteers did find new voters.
One of them was 19-year-old Reba Pearl of Alexandria, who filled out a voter registration form. So, does this strategy of trolling for new voters work for the Democrats? Pearl said she "definitely, 100%" would be voting for President Obama on November 6th.