Obama office officially opens

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By Carol A. Clark

Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama's Campaign for Change opened 16 offices across New Mexico on Saturday, including one at 2610 Trinity Drive, Suite 22, in the Mary Deal Building.

New Mexico is considered a critical swing state, where a closely divided electorate may help determine the outcome of the 2008 race for the White House on Nov. 4. Voters are expected to turn out in droves.

Through the new offices, Obama's Campaign for Change intends to focus on harnessing the enthusiasm of Obama's grassroots-level supporters.

They will organize communities across New Mexico - neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend and colleague to colleague, working for the benefit of Democratic candidates up and down the ticket, according to the campaign.

Los Alamos resident Jeannette Figg, 20, attends the University of California at Santa Barbara. This is the first time she will vote in a presidential election and said she agrees with Obama on the issues.

“I saw him talk last August at UCSB and it was so inspirational,” Figg said. “I don't like the way it is right now: where the money is – the power is. Obama wants to change that.”

Figg is majoring in statistics and environmental studies and said another reason she backs Obama is, “It drives me crazy that McCain wants to do more off-shore drilling.”

Obama's Republican opponent John McCain currently has an office in Albuquerque and a southwest regional headquarters in his home state of Arizona.

Like Figg, a majority of younger voters are inspired by Obama.

A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll shows 55 percent of voters between 18-34 favor Obama, with 31 percent favoring McCain.

Obama and McCain are separated by a 25-year age gap – the largest age difference of any two presidential candidates in history. Obama will be 47-years-old by election day and would be among the youngest presidents in history, if elected. McCain, 72, would be the oldest.

Local GOP spokesman Lawry Mann is charged with opening a local campaign office for McCain and other Republican candidates.

He expects the office to open around Labor Day.