Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s campaign confirmed yesterday that it would move some of its staff members out of Michigan.
The move comes two weeks after Republican presidential nominee John McCain announced it was pulling all its resources from the state in response to polls showing Obama’s lead in Michigan increasing.
A recent Quinnipiac University poll shows Obama with a 16-point lead in Michigan.
Obama spokesman Brent Colburn said he didn’t know the details of how many staff members would be leaving or where they will be going, only that they would be sent to “other battleground states.”
“We’ll still have over 200 staffers here through the election day,” Colburn said. He said the campaign won’t be closing any of their 60 field offices in the state and still plans to open a new office in Detroit this weekend.
LSA junior Nathaniel Eli Coats Styer, chair of the University’s chapter of the College Democrats, said he thought the Obama campaign made the right call.
“I think it’s a smart strategic move,” he said.
Styer said he didn’t expect the staffing shift to have any affect on the group’s campaign efforts.
“We’ll still continue our enthusiasm,” he said.
Styer said some of the staff members he spoke with — a few of whom were University alumni — are going to Indiana and North Carolina, two traditionally Republican states that are in play.
U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D–Mich.), who is up for re-election this year, said voters shouldn’t take the campaign’s decision for granted.
“I just hope that that decision does not in any way diminish the energy which is phenomenal for Barack Obama,” said Levin, who spoke at a College Democrats event yesterday at the Michigan Union. “I hope people don’t assume, somehow or other, that means that Michigan’s going to be for Barack Obama.”
Levin said he wasn’t too concerned about the decision.
“As long as the offices are there, the volunteers are there and most of the staff is there and they keep their energy levels up, keep their edge, I think we’re going to be okay,” said Levin, adding that he was told by the campaign that staffers would be sent to Pennsylvania, another battleground state.
— A. Brad Schwartz contributed to this report.