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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ohio Democratic Party And Obama Camp: Friction Showing Over Caucus Night Names?

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- There seems to be growing concern Ohio's Democratic Party is feigning public neutrality in the runup to the March 4 presidential primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The Obama camp has been pressing ODP officials to release the list of caucus-night voters who supported the Illinois senator earlier this month when convention delegates were selected. The list would identify Dems who showed up in sites scattered across 18 congressional districts in Ohio, and could total more than 1,000 deeply dedicated Obama backers. For weeks, nothing has materialized. An Obama operative told The Daily Bellwether today:

"We could get that f-ing stuff done overnight. We know who our delegates are. We want to see who was there for us statewide. A monk with a quill could do this faster than the ODP."

Jerid Kurtz at Buckeye State Blog has noted suspicion the state party organization has tilted in favor of Clinton. The New York senator has been endorsed by Gov. Ted Strickland, and some Obama backers wonder if the ODP has quietly taken sides. ODP Political Director Rebecca Pearcey sent out an e-mail last week to the Edwards (now gone), Obama and Clinton campaigns explaining that the delay in issuing the list of caucus night attendees was nothing nefarious. Pearcey said the data would be released when it was compiled in a useable form.

The names are important because they would quickly identify Ohioans who could be enlisted in Obama's statewide operation against Clinton. Said one insider:

"That's of immediate importance. If we find out that the names have been withheld from us for the past month, that would be a very stirring issue. I'm very interested in chasing the information down. What I'm suspicious of is that they have given the list to the Clinton campaign."

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