Nine months ago when the Democrats who ran Barack's Obama campaign created Organizing for America, no one was sure exactly how it would work or whether it was possible to harness the enthusiasm for the new president and translate it into action.
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But nearing the anniversary of Obama's election, OFA has strengthened into a (smaller) mirror of the campaign, with volunteers in every single Congressional district and staff on the ground in every state but Oklahoma.
They also are growing the Obama donor base.
TPMDC has learned that 24.7 percent of the donations made online to OFA are new donors - people who didn't give during the campaign. That's a pretty striking figure give that a record 3 million people donated during 2007 and 2008.
Organizationally, the boots-on-the-ground, Washington outsider vibe has translated into real results as well. Saturday morning, an OFA volunteer in Louisiana flagged for the team that Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) might end up supporting health care.
The administration had been talking to Cao behind the scenes, but it was the volunteer who emailed OFA staffers to report that the Republican's office wasn't saying he was against the bill which opened the floodgates. OFA volunteers made 550 calls to the district office on Saturday in the hours before he became the lone Republican to back the bill.
In an exclusive interview with TPMDC, OFA officials laid out their metrics so far and stressed the results have exceeded expectations.
It was no surprise that Mitch Stewart, OFA's director, and Jeremy Bird, the deputy director, remained on message at all times. They told me nearly a dozen times the OFA mission is to support the president's agenda, and downplayed any disappointment that Obama voters couldn't make the difference in last week's state races in Virginia and New Jersey.
But the wide-ranging interview did lift the curtain on the organization, officially deemed a special project of the Democratic National Committee.
As I detailed earlier this year, OFA and the DNC share a building and merged finances, but keep many things separate. Among those are the list of email supporters, which stood at 13 million at the end of the long campaign. (They won't disclose its size today.)
Campaign geeks may like the transcript of our interview, and come along after the jump to delve into how OFA is doing.