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Volunteers Crucial to Democrats' Campaigns

Volunteers for New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign brave the February cold to hold an afternoon "honk and wave" at a busy intersection in Toledo, Ohio.
Evie Stone, NPR /
Volunteers for New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign brave the February cold to hold an afternoon "honk and wave" at a busy intersection in Toledo, Ohio.
Derek Fawcett is a volunteer for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's campaign. Fawcett is from Chicago, but he is in Toledo for a week coordinating out-of-state volunteers.
/
Derek Fawcett is a volunteer for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's campaign. Fawcett is from Chicago, but he is in Toledo for a week coordinating out-of-state volunteers.

The next big round in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination takes place one week from Tuesday, when Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont hold primaries.

The focus, of course, is on the big, delegate-rich contests in Ohio and Texas. Both states are considered absolute must wins for New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, who has lost 11 straight contests to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

The two Democratic candidates seem to have been shuttling back and forth between Ohio and Texas, looking for votes.

But a critical part of both campaigns takes place well away from the candidates themselves: It's the ground-campaign, involving thousands of volunteers.

NPR visited the field offices for the Clinton and Obama campaigns in Toledo, Ohio.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Don Gonyea
You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.