Clinton gains added help for N.J. push

21 01 2008

New Jersey politicos and volunteers responded to Hillary Clinton’s four-alarm call for help in New Hampshire three weeks ago.

Now, some of Clinton’s New Hampshire operatives are returning the favor.

Sylvia Larsen, the New Hampshire state Senate president who is known for her high-energy turnout skills, will assist the New Jersey operation in the final weekend before the Feb. 5 primary, Larsen and other campaign officials said Friday.

Clinton advisers are expecting Larsen and her colleagues to work the phones, knock on doors or provide the kind of strategic advice that helped them secure Clinton support amid the post-Iowa Barack Obama fever that swept through New Hampshire.

Larsen and other Democrats deployed a fierce, fundamental strategy of identifying solid Clinton supporters and those who were undecided. Volunteers did the bulk of the work, but “clearly there were times I was at the phone banks, calling and recalling,” Larsen said. “By election day, we knew where our solid support was.”

Clinton supporters describe Larsen’s trip — at the request of Clinton fund-raiser John F.X. Graham of Verona and U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. of Paterson — as a thank-you but also as a hedge against the turnout uncertainties of a first-ever presidential-only primary in the dead of a New Jersey winter.

The standard voter data that allow party officials to identify declared Democratic voters may not be enough this year: It doesn’t tell them who is a Clinton supporter and who is likely to vote for Obama.

Further complicating matters are voters who have not declared their affiliation with either party, which represent most of New Jersey’s electorate. These voters typically participate in the November contests but not in primaries.

But because of the novelty of the new primary and the intensity of interest this year, the campaigns are expecting many to show up on Feb. 5. Independents can declare their party affiliation at the polls on primary election day.

That’s where Larsen and her colleagues could help. “She has expertise that we hope to tap,” said Brendan Gilfillan, a spokesman for Clinton’s New Jersey campaign.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: