Kathy Castor: I won it for Obama
Forget that President Obama's campaign never really left Florida after 2008, or that its legendary ground game exceeded expectations. Or that South Florida came through huge. The reason Obama got a second term?
Tampa Democrat Kathy Castor.
In a news release gushing with self-importance, her campaign wrote, "U.S. Representative Kathy Castor's turnout effort makes the difference in Florida." What followed:
While pundits and experts proclaimed surprise at President Obama's victory in Florida, the results posted on the eve of Election Day foretold the result in the Sunshine State and were bolstered by an aggressive ground game in Tampa and St. Petersburg on the Election Day. U.S. Representative Kathy Castor and Democratic campaigns throughout Tampa Bay coordinated a huge registration and GOTV effort in the weeks and months before Election Day. The strategy paid dividends.
"Before the polls opened yesterday, Democrats held a 30,000 vote lead in votes cast over Republicans in Hillsborough and Pinellas. My team worked tirelessly over the past month to find every vote by mail, through early voting and persuasion to lift President Obama and Democratic candidates," said Castor who provided the resources for the most extensive GOTV effort in the history of the area. Hillsborough County, in particular, is a bellwether county that has voted in sync with the national Presidential victor every cycle since 1960 except 1992. Republicans tried to swing Hillsborough and Pinellas by choosing Tampa for the Republican National Convention in August to no avail.
High profile countywide campaigns in Hillsborough and Pinellas and the early voter registration efforts of groups such as OFA and the nonpartisan Mi Familia Vota allowed U.S. Rep. Castor and the Hillsborough Democratic Black Caucus to execute the extensive GOTV effort, including an important vote-by-mail effort to whittle down the previous Republican advantage, early vote rallies, "Souls to the Polls", and voter protection for those with issues in polling places.
"All across the diverse Tampa Bay community, volunteers gave of themselves and had the support to move their neighbors to the polls. I could not be more proud of our role in lifting President Obama and other Democrats to victory and in doing so charting the course for broader economic opportunity for all," said Castor.