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Carson: Rural Democratic organizing not easy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A White House official with a farm background urged rural delegates to the Democratic National Convention this week to campaign hard and deliver a strong re-election vote for President Barack Obama.

Jon Carson

Jon Carson
Jon Carson, the director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, told the delegates on Tuesday that he grew up on a farm in western Wisconsin and was treasurer of his 4-H Club.

Carson said he was proud that in 2008 “people came together who had never volunteered for a campaign before, who established field offices where there had been none before” to support Obama in rural America.

He said he was proud on election night as Democratic votes rolled in, watching areas from the western range in Colorado to farm land in areas south of Toledo, Ohio, turn “bright blue” when they had not been blue for a long time.

Carson also noted that rural votes had been important to Obama’s 14,000-vote win in North Carolina.

“I know organizing as a Democrat in rural America is not easy,” Carson said, recalling that he had handed out brochures at county fairs where “not everyone” had been happy to receive them.”

In the party’s campaigning, Carson told the rural Democrats, “we have the facts on our side,” and he urged them to remind their neighbors of Obama’s support for the biofuel economy, that there are “wind turbines where there weren’t any a few years and ago,” that “the opponent would take away the [wind production] tax credits” and that money from the Recovery Act may have kept teachers employed in their schools.

“If you are in a battleground state, you know what to do,” Carson said, adding that rural delegates in states where the race seems settled should call their friends in battleground states.

White House Office of Public Engagement