Obama Campaign Holds Ground-Game Advantage As Early Voting Begins

Mitt Romney’s campaign is hoping it can match the unparalleled success of President Obama’s ground-game operation as early voting begins in a number of key states. 

But in some places it is still playing catch-up to the Obama juggernaut.

Election Day is just six weeks away, and a number of states, including North Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wisconsin, have already begun mail-in absentee voting. Iowa will open up in-person early voting on Thursday, while Ohio will do so the following Tuesday, Oct. 2.

Romney and the Republican National Committee have focused on improving on the ground game Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) ran in 2008. On Monday, the RNC touted a state-by-state breakdown of voter contacts that far surpassed McCain’s from four years ago.

But Obama’s campaign never closed the doors on some swing-state campaign offices after his 2008 victory. Strategists on both sides of the aisle acknowledge he will likely have the edge in get-out-the-vote efforts.

“Romney is in a much better position than McCain, but overall I think the GOP is still trailing the Democrats in the ground-game battle,” Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist who worked on McCain’s field operation in 2008, told The Hill. 

“Democrats will have an advantage on the ground. We’re closing the gap, but it’s not yet where it needs to be, and the Obama guys have the edge, particularly in the Southwest but also in Virginia and Ohio.”

Read more from Cameron Joseph and Niall Stanage at The Hill

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