Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, LeBron James, Russell Simmons…the Obama campaign is bringing in some heavy hitters to Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio this weekend to register new voters ahead of the states' Monday deadlines.
Monday is the last day to register to vote in those battleground states plus 13 other states including Indiana, Florida, and Virginia.
In Ohio, new voters can register and vote on the same day through Monday's registration deadline. The Obama campaign is hoping the Springsteen concert, on the campus of "The" Ohio State University will draw in large numbers of students who may be first time voters. OSU has an enrollment of 52,000 at the Columbus campus.
Michigan and Pennsylvania do not have early voting, so the Jay-Z and Springsteen shows in Detroit and Philadelphia on Saturday are aimed at voter registration.
Springsteen endorsed Obama back in April but his shows are open to the public, so Republicans can take advantage of the voter registration locations and also cast early ballots. (Though they will have to stop by a Campaign for Change office to pick up tickets.)
"For the first time ever, you can enjoy something sponsored by Democrats that doesn't result in you and your family paying higher taxes," reads an email from the RNC to supporters in Ohio encouraging them to hear the Boss and vote early for the McCain/Palin ticket.
Crashing the party? Nah, just attending a good show and doing their civic duty, Republican officials said. "Like the Boss, John McCain's fans are made up of voters of all political parties. We wouldn't want our supporters throughout Ohio to miss the opportunity to hear a living legend and vote early for an American hero," said McCain-Palin spokesman Paul Lindsay.
Turnout could be the key on Election Day in battleground states like Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. There are nearly 3 million new registered voters in Ohio than 2004 and Democrats currently outnumber Republicans by about a million voters, based on past voting in primaries and general elections. Virginia has seen an increase of about 375,000 since 2004 – and about 300,000 of those voters registered after January 1, 2008. Pennsylvania has seen an increase of about 350,000 registered Democrats while Republicans registrations dropped by over 250,000.
Among other states that the Obama campaign is hoping to flip from red to blue:
o Iowa and Nevada now have more registered Democrats than Republicans o In Nevada and New Mexico, new Democratic registrations are greater than the Bush-Cheney margin in 2004.
The Democrats point to these numbers and their improved ground game as strong indicators of success on Nov. 4. Not so fast, say Republican officials, who note that it's one thing to register – quite another to have these new voters actually show up on Election Day. Republicans also point out that their turnout strategy is geared toward the final weekend and some of these voter registration figures, while impressive for the Democrats, could be because of the long, competitive battle for the Democratic nomination between Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Weekend activity on the campaign trail. . .
Interesting weekend on trail. . . The Obama-Biden ticket splits up and visits battleground state Virginia on Saturday and Sunday, making a push for that state's 13 Electoral College votes.