Race for the White House offering different levels of ground games here in Ohio

Posted at 8:26 AM, Aug 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-17 08:26:20-04

Ahead of Hillary Clinton's visit to Cleveland on Wednesday local elected leaders gathered at a Clinton campaign office to talk in advance of what Clinton will be talking about. It's one of the many functions of the Clinton ground game in Ohio.

"We had a phone bank earlier just before you got here," said Cleveland Councilman Jeff Johnson who is heading up the African American vote effort for Clinton in Ohio.

 "The best way to get people, to persuade people, to not only pick your candidate but actually vote is to go talk to them," Johnson said. "From phone calls to marching in the streets to door to door, we're doing it, it's the old fashioned way."

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It's an early advantage the Clinton campaign has in Ohio with 21 offices in the state supporting similiar operations. While the Trump campaign announced last week 16 offices some of them are shared with local county GOP operations.

WEWS Political Analyst Tom Sutton of Baldwin Wallace University said it's about more than the bricks and mortar of a storefront office.

"What you need is people," said Sutton of the Clinton operation. "It's old fashioned campaigning and it's been demonstrated to be the most effective. People who are running phone banks, people who are going door to door, a network that knows how to contact community leaders who you think will support your campaign who will then turn out their people."

"That's part of where the Democratic Party's been very successful. They understand the mechanics of that, they've had walking scripts, they've had micro-targeting, a lot of the techniques that social media offers them as an advantage and Republicans have been playing catchup since 2004 when they were teh masters of this game when Karl Rove was running the campaign of George Bush."

While there is no dedicated office in Cuyahoga County the Trump campaign is working the county GOP. That's important Sutton said because while Cuyahoga County provided Barack Obama with his largest vote total in the state in 2012 it was Mitt Romney's third biggest counties behind Franklin and Hamilton.

"It's a numbers game, so if your metropolitan area's larger it means that everything else is going to be larger even if you're the minority party," said Sutton. "So while yes, there are Democrats all over Cuyahoga County - you've got strongholds in the western part, in the eastern part of the county that are strong GOP and you can pull in 100-150,000 votes and that can make the difference."