Obama Banks on Democratic Converts in Pa.

State party has gained 65K members since the fall
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2008 1:30 PM CDT
Democratic president hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., makes remarks at a Gamesa plant, Tuesday, March 11, 2008, in Fairless Hills, Pa.    (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama has 6 weeks to cut into Hillary Clinton’s lead in Pennsylvania, but only 10 more days to lay the groundwork: Voters must register as members of a party by March 24 to vote in the primary. Independents and Republicans must switch their affiliation to Democratic by then because the April 22 primary is "closed," which favors Clinton. Obama volunteers have been recruiting since long before staffers arrived in January.

The latest numbers show 65,000 new Democrats in Pennsylvania since last fall—nearly 2% of the party’s voter rolls—and final figures after the deadline will be the “first tangible indications” of Obama’s strength, Politico reports. One expert says there was too little time to “have any real impact on changing the electoral universe” and suggests that the Obama campaign blanket African-American areas with absentee ballots.