It's not a cliché to say that, as Hillsborough County goes, so goes the nation when it comes to picking our presidents. With the exception of 1992, Hillsborough has voted for the winning candidate every time since 1960.
That's why it's significant how many resources the Obama re-elect team is pouring into winning the county this year.
At the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee meeting at the Children's Board in Ybor City Monday night, Lauren Brainerd, the regional field director for President Obama's re-election team in Hillsborough and Polk counties, briefly addressed local Democrats.
Brainerd was a field organizer for OFA (Obama For America) in 2008, and a regional field director during the congressional elections in 2010. She told the crowd she believes Tampa is going to be one of the most important places in the country in the campaign to re-elect the president. "We have the ability to decide Florida by getting the I-4 corridor," she said, referring to the now famous interstate connecting Tampa to Orlando in Central Florida, where over the past decade and a half presidential elections have been fought over in the Sunshine State.
Florida is critical to election hopes of both Obama and the Republicans, with 29 electoral votes up for grabs — the country's biggest swing state. Brainerd says there are four field organizers working right now in Hillsborough County, and that no state in the nation has more paid staff working for Obama than Florida.
Brainerd observed that the Democrats' organization in the Sunshine State is much more advanced than the GOP's at the moment, as Mitt Romney slowly winds his way to becoming the GOP nominee this fall.
But there is a downside to having so much infrastructure right now: the Obama campaign is spending a lot of money in the early going.