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Obama support strengthening in Placer County

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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With more than three months to go before Election Day, the presidential primary campaign in Placer County is already heating up - with Democratic Party supporters of candidate Barack Obama showing some early strength. The Sierra Foothills for Obama group has hit the political ground running with a victory in an online competition against similar groups across the nation to take part in a 30-minute conference call with the Illinois senator. Auburn's Christa Darlington, chairwoman of the group, said that Sierra Foothills for Obama brought in 36 new donors during the allotted time period to win the opportunity to be part of a conference call with their candidate and ask a couple of questions. The Sierra Foothills organization joined the D.C for Obama and Young Lawyers for Obama on the call Saturday. "We thought it was great that it wasn't the money that mattered," Darlington said. "It was the idea of finding new supporters." The presidential primary will be held Feb. 5, with voter registration required at least 30 days before that. Paul Ardoin, communications coordinator for Sierra Foothills group, said that he's part of the drive to elect Obama as the Democratic Party nominee for president because he finds himself agreeing with him on many of the issues. "I really like the fact that he's not taking money from anyone other than individuals," Ardoin said. "It's a good step toward campaign reform Democrat and GOP leaders in Placer County are seeing support for a variety of candidates, as well as a wait-and-see viewpoint from many party members. Tom Hudson, Placer County Republican Central Committee chairman, said that Rudy Giuliani has a great deal of support. "But it seems to be a mile wide and an inch deep," he said. Once conservative Republicans in the county learn more about him, they back off on their support, he said. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, "is saying all the right things now," Hudson said. Nationally, support for John McCain and Fred Thompson is showing greater strength than in Placer County, he said. Larry Dubois, president of the Placer County Democrats, said the Obama support group has clearly been the most visible. He said there have also been smaller groups behind Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, and a very vocal group that wants to draft Al Gore. Not everyone is jumping on a primary political bandwagon at this point. "A good many Democrats are also being non-committal and waiting to see how the earlier primaries unfold," Dubois said. The Journal's Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com, or post a comment at auburnjournal.com.