Obama has eye on S.C.

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama is getting ready to send a team of paid staffers to South Carolina in hopes of swinging this traditionally red state to the Democrats this November. Campaign officials are keeping tight-lipped on how many people will be sent here, and how much they're willing to spend.

But the real question is: Can Obama pull off a win, or is it just a waste of money?

Even if Obama doesn't earn victories in the red states he's reaching out to this election cycle — and S.C. isn't the only one by far — the campaign argues that they're building a Democratic base for the long-term by registering new voters, particularly blacks, young adults, and transplants. (And we definitely know a little about transplants here in the Lowcountry ...)

Besides that, the campaign efforts could help Democrats win more congressional seats or local and state offices.

Republican officials say Obama hasn't got a chance of turning South Carolina blue, and even Democratic officials here think it would be unlikely. Then again, stranger things have happened.

From The State:

But, still high on Obama’s landslide S.C. primary victory, some Democrats think many more Palmetto State voters are ready to embrace their party.

“To carry the state is a bit of a long shot for Obama,” said Don Fowler, former Democratic National Committee chairman and a S.C. superdelegate to the Democrats’ national convention in August. “But it’s not completely improbable. He attracted a diverse group in the primary. He has an appeal that’s indefinable.”

The key, Fowler said, will be registering African-American voters, who vote Democratic about 90 percent of the time, and chipping off more white and independent voters.

The State also offers the GOP response to the Obama effort here:

(State GOP chairman Katon) Dawson is unfazed.

“For Obama to set up a $2 million operation in S.C. would be a bad business decision,” Dawson said, adding the state’s Republican Party and its congressional candidates have enough cash on hand to match that level of spending, dollar for dollar.

The S.C. GOP alone has nearly $642,000 to spend on federal elections, making it the second wealthiest Republican Party in the nation. Kentucky tops the list.

In contrast, the state’s Democratic Party has $94,000 to spend.

So who's right? I guess we'll see in November ...