The Washington Post

Obama adds staff, will open fourth office in Virginia

Meanwhile, Obama will return to the swing state of Virginia Wednesday to speak about the economy at an event closed to the public at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church.

The campaign has hired two new staffers for the press office and will open an office in Petersburg.

Jennifer Kohl, who worked on Capitol Hill and for the FDA, will serve as communications director. Dan Crawford, a native Virginian who worked on the 2008 campaign and at the Small Business Administration, will be a press assistant.

Obama already has offices in vote-rich Fairfax County, Richmond and Newport News. About 500 people attended the campaign headquarters opening Saturday in downtown Richmond.

The campaign already has more than a dozen staffers in every region of the state, including Northern Virginia, some of whom have been here for more than two years through Organizing for America. It has held more than 4,000 events since April.

No Republican presidential candidate has much of a presence in Virginia yet. Only former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul will appear on the Virginia ballot March 6 because the others could not meet the signature requirements.

In 2008, Obama became the first Democratic candidate to carry Virginia in 44 years, but in the years since, Democrats have lost ground. The GOP controls all of Richmond and holds a commanding majority of Virginia’s congressional delegation.

Obama and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) fiercely courted Virginia’s 13 electoral votes three years ago, giving the state a front-row seat to a presidential election for the first time in decades. Both candidates, as well as numerous surrogates, made repeated visits to the state and flooded airwaves and mailboxes with advertisements.

Obama’s win was attributed to a highly developed ground game and an energized base of supporters who gave him an advantage in the important get-out-the vote effort.

In what was then considered the most comprehensive political organization in modern times, Obama opened almost 50 offices, even in sparsely populated regions, dispatched more than 250 paid staffers and recruited thousands of volunteers to knock on doors across the state.

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