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December 17, 2007

Will Obama open an office here?

Posted by David Postman at 3:37 PM

Eli Sanders Slogs that he's been told that Barack Obama will soon open a campaign office in the state. Congressman Adam Smith, D-Tacoma, is chairman of Obama's campaign here and an insider on the national organization. He told me this afternoon that nothing has been decided for sure, but said:

"I've been arguing for a while that there should be an office here and we would help pay for it."

Washington Democrats will select presidential delegates during their Feb. 9 caucus. Sanders wonders if an Obama office means

the Obama campaign is starting to seriously plan for a scenario in which Washington matters to their nomination fight — a scenario that would be far from the campaign's fondest hopes.

That does sound like at least part of the thinking. Smith said "there is a distinct possibility that Washington State will matter." He says there still could be a race on the Democratic side even after Super Tuesday. Washington is the only state that has a caucus or primary on Feb. 9 so a candidate could afford time to campaign here. And probably no matter what happens in the early states, Obama and Hillary Clinton have enough money to keep going until that day.

Washington Democrats have given more money to Obama than any other candidate; more than any Republican has gotten, too. But Smith said that doesn't help convince the candidate to open an office here. The move has to be strategic nationally, he said.

Will Washington matter? I'll leave the last word on that to an anonymous critic. He left this voicemail for me about eight years ago after a story I wrote ran under the headline: "State's primary suddenly big deal."

"Hi. Interesting article about the state's primary suddenly being a big deal. You must be an idiot. There's no big deal. You're so stupid. It's no big deal for the rest of the country what Washington votes on this. Give me a break. What an idiot. I guess it makes you feel important to write something like suddenly it's a big deal when it's no big deal. God. What an idiot."

UPDATE: Obama volunteers in the state have decided to open an office on their own while the campaign decides on its decision. The "local grassroots Obama office" will have no official connection to the Obama national campaign, according to an e-mail supporters got today. The office will be in Pioneer Square and be used for Obama-related volunteer efforts.

The e-mail asks for donation to help pay January rent and for volunteers to staff the office daily from noon to 8:30 p.m. "from now until Feb 9th or beyond."

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