Skip to comments.Presidential campaigns already ramping up in York County (Pennsylvania)
Posted on 07/24/2011 3:47:44 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
York, PA - Just as in 2008, York County will be the site of a pitched battle during the 2012 presidential race, according to local party chairmen. And though the election is more than a year away, both sides are already marshaling their forces.
York County Democratic Chairman Bob Kefauver said the national re-election campaign for President Barack Obama has two workers in York County. One is a Dillsburg resident, and the other is an intern from the University of Pennsylvania, Kefauver said.
York County Republican Chairman A. Carville "Peck" Foster said local Republicans have not been contacted by a national campaign because none exists for the GOP yet. The Republican primaries in early 2012 will determine who the national candidate will be.
But Foster said the state and national Republican committees are already offering county organizations advice on topics such as using social networking for campaign organizing.
Foster said that the serious campaigning will likely start in January.
"I don't envision a lot of heavy lifting before that," Foster said.
Both Kefauver and Foster said their respective political organizations are busy now. Their main job is organizing, primarily in the form of re-activating the volunteer networks they had in place for the 2008 presidential race.
Although 2008 might not seem like a long time ago, both chairmen said conditions have changed.
One change, Foster said, is the emergence of social networking resources such as Twitter and Facebook. He said campaign organizers should be wary of becoming too reliant on social networking, and nothing beats face-to-face contact. Still, campaign organizers ignore technology at their peril.
Kefauver said a major priority for Democrats is signing up new voters. The youth vote made a crucial difference for Obama in 2008, and plenty of people who weren't eligible to vote last time around are now fair game.
With all that, Kefauver said the emphasis isn't solely on the presidential race. Congressional, statehouse and a U.S. Senate seat will all be up for grabs next year.
This year, meanwhile, a couple of statewide judicial contests -- not to mention county commissioners, municipal and school board races -- are all being fought out.
"For the Democratic Party of York County, every day is campaign season," Kefauver said.
Scott Burkholder, a founding member of local tea party group York 912 Patriots, said a frequent complaint by his group is the tendency of major political party leadership to choose candidates for endorsement before the electorate has weighed in during the primaries.
In 2008, he points out, Pennsylvania Republicans didn't even get a say since John McCain was already the nominee before Pennsylvania even held its primary.
For now, he said, his group is focusing on school board and state government races.
"We haven't really delved into the presidential race yet," he said.
The presidential campaign came to York County in a big way back in 2008.
Since York County is a major population center in a swing state, both sides considered it to be of strategic importance in the national race. Although Republicans have a decided local advantage in voter registration and nobody doubted the county would go for Republican John McCain, every Pennsylvania vote was crucial. Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama all paid visits to the county.
Both local parties could credibly claim victories in the aftermath. John McCain won York County with 107,367 votes to Barack Obama's 81,748. But thousands of county residents changed their party registration from Republican to Democrat.