On Saturday, July 19, the Barack Obama campaign opened 20 offices around the state of Virginia—including one on the Downtown Mall in the old A&N building—as it prepares to wage battle against John McCain for the presidency of the United States. A win in the normally red state of Virginia would go a long way in returning the nation to the Democrats, and thus salvation.
Barack Obama’s Charlottesville office is full of passionate volunteers. “If something doesn’t change, we’re going to go the way of Rome,” says Shannon Adams.
“He’s got the intelligence to know where to change things,” says Shannon Adams, a volunteer at Obama’s Charlottesville office who has coordinated a lot of the painting to get the Downtown outpost ready. “Sometimes those little changes will sink in and change things down the line. If something doesn’t change, we’re going to go the way of Rome.”
By that logic, McCain would keep the country not only Republican but on the path to decay and ruin. It is apparently an effort he will not depend on Charlottesville to contribute heavily to. While McCain recently opened offices in Richmond, Fairfax, Fredericksburg and Virginia Beach, he has yet to open an office here in the Charlottesville area.
Nevertheless, “the McCain campaign is planning to have a strong presence here,” says Albemarle GOP head Christian Schoenewald. While he could not confirm a date, Schoenewald says that a McCain office should be opening here in upcoming weeks. However, unlike Obama’s local headquarters, which operate independently of any local candidate, McCain’s will likely be run by Schoenewald, who also oversees the local efforts for Republican candidates Jim Gilmore for the U.S. Senate and Virgil Goode for re-election in the House. (Schoenewald also recently greeted NOVA anti-immigrant stalwart Corey Stewart to this area for the regular Albemarle GOP breakfast.)
John McCain’s campaign has opened offices in Richmond, Fairfax, Fredericksburg and Virginia Beach, but not yet in the Charlottesville area.
Perhaps some of McCain’s delay in expanding his offices through Virginia, as Obama has done, is a result of recent news that the Virginia Democratic Party has a 9-to-1 advantage over the state Republicans in money that can be used to influence the outcome of the presidential, Senate and congressional races. Even more disconcerting for the Virginia GOP had to be the recent revelation that Gilmore is at a 44-1 money disadvantage in his Senate campaign against fellow former governor Democrat Mark Warner. According to campaign finance reports released on July 15, Gilmore had $115,000 in the bank, while Warner has $5.1 million heading into the next phase of the campaign.
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