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Obama ran a truly statewide campaign, with almost sixty campaign offices, some in parts of Wisconsin that had never before seen a presidential ground presence. Many of those offices were cooperative efforts between the campaign and county parties, and the eagerness of so many county parties to grab the ball and run with it was amazing. Those local grassroots efforts will result in a bigger and stronger Democratic Party, and bode well for even more success in the future.
Obama's victory represents, in a very real sense, the culmination of Howard Dean's fifty-state strategy. You can't win if you don't play, and Obama played, and won, almost everywhere. I was an early Dean supporter because I recognized that Dean's vision for the Democratic Party represented our best hope to turn around three decades of Republican domination. Although Dean didn't win the nomination in 2004, his willingness, as DNC Chair, to push for new ideas and strategies, despite relentless opposition from the party establishment, paved the way for what happened on November 4th.
Democrats have an awful lot to be thankful for this year, and we owe most of that to two extraordinary leaders: President-elect Barak Obama, and DNC Chair Howard Dean.