As gun owners, we cannot sit out of the elections in 2010 just because it seems like the tide may turn in the favor of pro-gun candidates in the fall. President Obama’s political wing, Organizing for America (formerly Obama for America, called OFA), plans to target all of the new voters they registered in 2008 to swing close elections.
Learning from the defeat of his anti-gun ally in Massachusetts, Obama has decided to activate his political arm early in the 2010 races to avoid seeing another headline-making loss like Martha Coakley in January. It was argued at the time that he didn’t send in support early enough to help turn out voters in the special election. For November, OFA plans to start in June to keep future Scott Brown-style wins from happening around the country.
Looking at the math they presented to supporters earlier this week, it makes sense why they would want to activate their 2008 network again.
They point out that first time voters turn out at much lower levels in midterms than regular voters. They realize that they cannot recreate the excitement and turnout of the historic 2008 election, so they have studied how many of those voters they really need to reach in order to flip elections in Obama’s favor.
Looking at Ohio, and a further subset study of their 15th Congressional District, they found that turning out just 8% more of the first time voters from 2008 would result in an increase of 2 points for their candidate at the polls in November. They just have to find 5,000 extra votes from the 57,000 they registered in the district in 2008.
Using their example of OH-15, they are targeting NRA A rated former Congressman Steve Stivers who is running to take back his old seat. He lost the 2008 election by a mere 2,300 votes out of nearly 304,000 cast – less than .8 points. The momentum of 2010 puts the wind at his back against F rated Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy who voted for controversial legislation like health care reform after barely winning the seat. If Obama’s team can boost voter turnout for anti-gun Kilroy by 2 points, her seat is safer than it otherwise might be in a year of anti-incumbent attitudes.
In Pennsylvania, there are more competitive seats than any other state in the nation. In some areas, the incumbents are supportive of the Second Amendment. If OFA manages to increase turnout in these tight elections, they could swing these seats to anti-gun candidates. In other races, the fighting challengers are the pro-gun voices, and Obama’s team will drag out every vote they can to keep their anti-gun leaders in office.
If you’re ready to help us turn out the vote for pro-gun candidates, sign up with your local Election Volunteer Coordinator so we can let you know about the opportunities in your area.