Hillary’s opening an office in Vermont this week, sending three paid staffers to the March 4th state. Compare that to Obama, who already has seven paid staffers, four offices, and is running TV ads.
Interviews and clips have indicated that the Clinton campaign thought the nomination would be wrapped up by February 5th, leading to a lack of planning for the later states. That strategic error has cost them dearly. Consider New Jersey, a state with a sizable 107 pledged delegates. There, Hillary picked up a net advantage of 11 delegates. Now look at Idaho, a caucus with a mere 18 pledged delegates. Because of Obama’s strong organization and passionate supporters, he got 12 more delegates than Hillary.
Part of this was due to Obama’s significant financial advantages. While the Clinton campaign was nearly broke – prompting Hillary’s $5 million self loan – Obama was flush with cash, raising $32 million in January alone. Yet Hillary’s fund-raising has picked up of late, with the campaign raising $15 million online in 15 days.
From a conference call today, the Clinton campaign appears to have refocused its strategy, shifting away from the overriding emphasis on larger states. Besides boasting impressive organizations in Ohio and Texas, Hillary has full staffs in Rhode Island and Vermont, the other two states voting on March 4th. It’s an effort to prevent another New Jersey/Idaho scenario, but is the push too late?