Progressive Revival


Ohio’s progressive religious leaders, who largely sat out the 2004 presidential election, have mobilized now to counter the political clout of their conservative and evangelical brethren.

“We had been silent too long,” said the Rev. Tim Ahrens, senior pastor at First Church in Columbus, who helped found We Believe Ohio, a multidenominational organization that promotes social justice and other progressive causes.

The new activism is part of a wider effort by Democrats to strengthen their voter turnout operation and broaden its reach since the bitter 2004 loss to President Bush that was caused, in part, by the mobilization of conservative religious leaders in the Buckeye State.

That Republican operation is now pushing the McCain-Palin ticket, and officials say it’s reaching more voters today than it did for Bush-Cheney four years ago.

“We are currently averaging 550,000 targeted voter contacts each day,” John McCain’s political director, Mike DuHaime, said last week. And McCain’s regional communications director in Ohio, Paul Lindsay, said that faith voters still form “a strong coalition for us.”

Democrats concede that the Republicans have a leg up in the ground game. The Republican National Committee’s “voter vault” is more than a decade old and rich with detailed information about the balloting, habits and interests of voters nationwide.

But Democrats also believe they have made up enough ground to have a shot at matching, or besting, their rivals this time.   Read whole story…

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