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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Obama hiring FL talent



Obamaimages Looks like it’s time to dampen the speculation that Barack Obama might blow off Florida’s Jan. 29 primary and cede the state to frontrunner Hillary Clinton. The Obama campaign has hired Ashley Walker, most recently campaign manager for state Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, to get his Florida operation revving up.

Other than fundraising staff, she’s the first Florida-based operative hired by any of the Democrats. By contrast Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney each have at least 11 Florida staffers. But the Democrats are still trying to figure out how to deal with the prospect of the national party stripping Florida’s delegates because the still violating the party schedule in setting such an early primary.

“Obama’s lucky to have her. She’s the most organized person I have ever met,’’ Sen. Ring said of Walker, who also has worked on Peter Deutsch’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign and Bob Graham’s presidential campaign.

Ring said he’s backing Obama too, not just because Obama is the most inspiring candidate but because his hiring of Walker showed the Illinois Senator won’t write off Florida’s primary; "Whoever wins Florida is going to be sprung like a cannon into Feb. 5 (when a host of states vote). If obama or anyone else doesn't campaign in Florida and loses by 30 points it's not going to look good for Feb. 5."

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 12:56pm]


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