U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign has found a new home in Madison.
Later this week, Obama's staff will settle in a rented office space in Laundry 101 Laundromat at 437 W. Gilman St., the second headquarters for the Illinois senator's campaign in Wisconsin.
The office was used four years ago by then-U.S. Sen. John Edwards' campaign and U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, according to Ald. Zach Brandon, District 7, who owns Laundry 101. U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, has also used the Laundromat for events, though he did not rent the office.
Obama spokesperson Ben LaBolt said the headquarters should open late this week, and preparations for a Madison-based campaign have already begun.
"We currently have staffers on the ground in Wisconsin, and we've begun to organize a statewide field organization that is headed by neighbors talking about why Barack Obama is the best presidential candidate," LaBolt said.
As the only Democratic candidate to have visited UW, LaBolt added Obama has "a stronger base of support and the largest chapter of all the campaigns."
"We believe that in a race this close organization matters, and the most persuasive form of communication is neighbors talking to neighbors about Barack Obama," he said.
Though nothing has been confirmed, Brandon is hopeful Obama may visit campus once more before Wisconsin's primary Feb. 19.
"I'd be shocked to not see Barack Obama," Brandon said. "I can't make promises, but if you're at the Obama office, you never know who might show up."
Along with Brandon, Obama has also been endorsed by Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle and Ald. Eli Judge, District 8.
Brandon will cover the cost of rent as a donation for Obama's campaign, and the office will be used to distribute information on the Illinois senator through stickers, flyers and word of mouth.
"I'm a supporter of Barack Obama, but this is more about making sure people have access to the campaigns close to campus," he said.
Obama's is the only presidential campaign to have offices in Wisconsin, as the campaign recently opened an office in Milwaukee as well, Brandon said.
© 2008 Badger Herald via U-WIRE