Senator plans to visit N.H.


CONCORD (AP) – Democratic Sen. Barack Obama plans to open offices in New Hampshire and visit the first-in-the-nation primary state within the next month, a key supporter said Tuesday.

New Hampshire lobbyist Jim Demers talked Tuesday morning with Obama, who earlier in the day told supporters online that he would take the first step toward a White House bid.

“He is extremely pumped and excited that this campaign is coming together,” said Demers, who is a volunteer adviser to the potential campaign.

Obama didn’t share specifics about his New Hampshire visit or other plans with Demers, but said he expects movement within the next month.

And when Obama returns, it won’t be on the scale of his much-vaulted December, rockstar-style visit.

“All indications are that he is going to be a full-fledged candidate very soon,” Demers said.

New Hampshire Democratic Party spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said Tuesday’s announcement could unleash a pack of would-be volunteers for the first-term senator, who has turned his lack of experience in national politics into an asset.

“There’s been this sort of subdued excitement and anticipation that he is going to get in the race,” Strand said. “Now that it’s official, you’re going to see a lot of people interested in getting involved in Sen. Obama’s campaign.”

Demers said he has been receiving scores of resumes and inquiries about joining Obama’s staff, which so far does not have a full-time staffer in New Hampshire.

“Ideally, I’d like to have everything up and running with a staff within the next month,” Demers said. “The discussions I’ve had is that, first and foremost, we want a staff that has New Hampshire experience.”

Obama also phoned outgoing state party chair Kathy Sullivan, whose term ends this spring.

“A lot of people will be looking forward to seeing him again soon,” said Sullivan, who declined to discuss her conversation. Until her term as chairwoman ends, she said she won’t be supporting one candidate over another.

Other Democrats who have announced a campaign or exploratory committee are 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich. New York Sen.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the race’s front-runner, has not announced her plans for 2008.

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