Barack Obama opens Knoxville office

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) - An East Knoxville house has become the official home of a presidential campaign.

Democrat Barack Obama's campaign opened it's Knoxville headquarters on Magnolia Avenue Tuesday.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy was there for the grand-opening.

Volunteer's didn't waste anytime getting work. The doors opened at 5:00, and just a few minutes later supporters lined the street...Holding Obama signs. They say that's the purpose of the headquarters: To make a campaign that's been going on for months stand-out and get noticed, but soon they'll have some competition.

With a hammer and stake. Volunteers say they're building the future.

"This is an effort...to move from a dream to action," Obama supporter Dorothy Bennet said.

A dream that transformed this East Knoxville house into the home of the city's first official Presidential Candidate Headquarters, and volunteers are...

"Fired up. Ready to go!"

..for Democrat Barack Obama.

"It is day one to let the community know we're here, for people to have a gathering place," Bennet said.

But Volunteer Dorothy Bennet says Obama-rama began months ago. The official Magnolia Avenue headquarters...new signs...just make it more visible. All thanks to about 50 button wearing volunteers

"From raking the yard to mopping the floors, people think campaigning is glamorous, right?," Bennet said.

Obama's not the only presidential candidate staking his claim in Tennessee. Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign's set to open her official Knoxville headquarters Wednesday. She's already visited Nashville and Memphis, but not Knoxville.

"We have people canvassing. We have people visible in every section of the state. So we are taking the entire state seriously," said Jamie Radice from the Clinton Campaign.

So far, no Republican candidates have opened official Knoxville headquarters.

"This was Senator Thompson's turf. None of the candidates expected to be competitive here. It takes a lot of time to build an organization, and so many haven't had the time since he backed out of the race," said Corey Johns from the Knox County Republicans.

Bennet's ready to set-up more signs...

"Eating and sleeping isn't as important as is used to be," Bennet said.

Because Super Tuesday's just a week away.

Organizers say they chose that particular house because it was immediately available and donated. Also, they say area businesses are picking up the utilities tab. Both the Obama and Clinton campaigns have offices in Nashville and Memphis.

On the Republican side, the state party office says only Ron Paul has opened an official Nashville office. The Knox County Republican Party say it'll definitely have an official office building support for the November election. All the campaigns we talked to have field staffs here in East Tennessee building support.


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