Barack Obama’s probably feeling pretty confident right now – he’s won the last eleven primaries, has eaten into Hillary Clinton’s base and keeps climbing in national numbers. It seems the Senator’s just two states away from clinching the Democratic presidential nomination. If he wins in Texas and Ohio on Tuesday – well, even Bill admits that Hillary’s campaign’s not going to make it.
One can’t get lazy, of course, which may explain why he’s now placing the above “generic” LGBT ad in gay newspapers in Ohio and Texas. Oh yeah, Obama’s definitely stamping on Clinton’s queer territory. It’s a crazy strategy, yes, and may just push Obama over the edge…
Obama’s campaign has been ramping up the gay effort down South – and not just with the advertisement. Obama campaigner Eric Stern told journalist Lisa Keen that he and his allies are all about the Texans:
Stern says he has been â€œtaskedâ€ by the Obama campaign to â€œcreate and lead LGBT steering committees in Ohio and Texas.â€ Stern and a small group of LGBT volunteers are planning events in gay dense cities of both states â€“not to raise money for Obama, said Stern, but â€œjust to talk to LGBT voters about why to support Obama.â€
Obama LGBT Policy Council co-chair Stampp Corbin also told our editor that the campaign has been doing the “old-fashioned thing,” which is going to gay spaces and spreading the message.
Corbin also had this to say about the posters:
What really makes theses ads important, is the fact that it is the first time in any presidential campaign, let alone a primary, for there to be an LGBT specific message in an ad. There were LGBT press ad buys in 2004 but the message was the same message being placed in traditional media. These ads further underscore the Senator’s commitment of inclusion and his belief that the LGBT community is a critical part of the American fabric.
Rival Hillary Clinton’s office, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to be as active in pursuing the gay vote. Keen writes that she called the Senator’s offices for comment and got no reply. Could it be Clinton took the once loyal gays for granted? Could it be her disinterest is mutual? Maybe in Texas…
A recent Federal Election Committee donation dissection shows that the former first lady’s lacking a little lavender love in the Lone Star state: “The latest Federal Elections Commission report shows Obama with only a small advantage over Clinton in gay dense zip codes in Texas â€“ 52 percent versus 48 percent.” Sure, Clinton may still be a gay favorite nationally, but Obama’s obviously gaining strength. A campaign staffer sent us some previously unreleased California numbers and Obama won in aome of the gayest regions: Obama won 53-to-44 in San Francisco and 52-to-44 in Almeda County. Don’t worry, Clinton supporters: your girl got West Hollywood and stands strong here in New York.
Meanwhile, over in Ohio, Obama’s not only placing the print ad, but has penned a very special op-ed. We’ve included a PDF of the entire message at the bottom of this post, but here’s a taste:
…I have been listening to what all Americans have to say. I will never compromise on my commitment to equal rights for all LGBT Americans. But neither will I close my ears to the voices of those who still need to be convinced. That is the work we must do to move forward together. It is difficult. It is challenging. And it is necessary.
While we don’t have any numbers on Ohio’s homos specifically, Obama’s gaining on Clinton’s total numbers there: “…Clintonâ€™s lead is now just five percentage points in Ohio, down from an eight-point advantage last week and fourteen points two weeks ago.”
It’s difficult to say whether Obama’s ads will have on any effect on Tuesday’s primaries – we’re not psychic! – but if gays are convinced he’s their man, then it could have an unexpected effect on delegate counts in both states. Keen, again:
Ordinary delegates are awarded not only based on which candidate wins the state, but based on who wins the Congressional district. That means Congressional Districts with heavily gay populations can influence the outcome in those districts. Patrick Shepherd, an Ohio gay activist supporting Obama, says the Buckeye State has â€œsubstantialâ€ LGBT populations in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, and â€œsolidâ€ communities in Toledo, Akron, and Canton.
In Texas, Dallas, Houston, and Austin have strong LBGT communities, too.
Could the gay vote be more important than mainstream media and polling agencies believe? Obama seems to think so – and may very well be right.