Michelle Obama campaigns for her husband in Wisconsin. President Obama's… (Rick Wood / Milwaukee Journal )
WASHINGTON -- Supporters who want to spend election night with President Obama can earn a ticket with a chore: two days of door-knocking to help turn out the vote in neighboring Wisconsin.
Locking down Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes is an important part of Obama’s path to victory, but it won’t come easy. Both he and Republican Mitt Romney have their eyes on the state, home of Romney running mate Paul D. Ryan.
But the tickets-for-chores scheme has worked for the Obama campaign before, putting more than 6,000 volunteers to work in the days before the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina.
“We want to make sure we’re using every opportunity, right up to the end,” said one campaign official, who requested anonymity to discuss the plan in advance of its announcement.
The appeal is going out this week to Obama’s fellow Illinois residents. Supporters can sign up online to do two shifts knocking on doors in Wisconsin on Nov. 3, 4 or 5, which will get them tickets to the election night watch party at McCormick Place in Chicago.
The president and First Lady Michelle Obama are expected to attend the watch party – which, in the event of an Obama win, would turn into a victory celebration.
Campaign officials aren’t saying how many recruits they expect to get, but the McCormick convention center holds as many as 10,000 people for standing-room events of this kind.
An army of canvassers just a fraction of that size could make a difference in tight races for the president and for Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin, who is running against former Gov. Tommy Thompson.
“This is another organizing tool to help reelect the president,” the official said.