The campaign to elect Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has more than eight times as many paid campaign staffers in Colorado and a far larger volunteer base than his Republican opponent, John McCain.
McCain, a western senator from Arizona, had six paid staffers on the ground as of Independence Day with “more on the way,” according to Tom Kise, regional communications director in Colorado for the McCain campaign.
Obama has more than 50.
“This campaign is going to be shifting… our staff is becoming part of the Campaign for Change staff and other staffs are joining us as well,” said Matt Chandler, Obama’s Colorado press secretary. “I would say our total number of paid staff is more than 50.”
Chandler did note the campaign has had several temporary offices operating statewide and is in the middle of a transition to more "permanent" locations.
Although neither would offer specific numbers, representatives from both campaigns indicated that they are growing the size of their Colorado staffs in coming weeks and that they will open more statewide offices. Colorado has emerged as a battleground state for the presidency and supporters from both campaigns acknowledge the Centennial State will be a focus of the national election.
McCain, who lost to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the Colorado caucuses, has one office in the Denver metro area, and is incorporating efforts with other Republican Victory Offices around the state to get people out to vote for McCain and other Republicans on the ticket, Kise said.
“The campaign has hundreds of volunteers on the ground that we can call on and we are building that number across the state every day,” Kise said. “We are excited about where we are, where we are heading and are we are confident we have the resources needed to win in Colorado on Election Day.”
It could be tough to compete with the sheer size of Obama’s operations if today’s Colorado campaign numbers are any indication.
Obama, who enjoyed large support in Colorado during the February caucuses, has “thousands of volunteers” in Colorado. Late last week Chandler, his Colorado spokesman, would only provide a current estimate of “more than five but less than 10” official campaign offices around the state.
“This is an incredibly important state for us,” he said. “Colorado is a battleground state and it has been trending Democrat for a couple of election cycles now. There has been a widespread and aggressive effort to tap into the Colorado network.”
One reason Obama’s campaign could be larger than McCain’s is the record-breaking spending the Illinois senator has employed.
Fighting a long and expensive primary season with Sen. Hillary Clinton that ended last month, Obama spent more than $244 million through the end of April. He has more than $43 million on hand.
McCain’s near-$36 million cash on hand at the end of April was not far behind, despite raising close to $120 million — or 58 percent less than Obama.
Colorado has been visited by presidential candidates this year, with both Obama and McCain visiting the state within a week of one another in May and again this week.