Local campaigning underway

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Campaign season is officially getting underway here in Central Virginia. President Barack Obama opened his re-election campaign headquarters downtown today.

Virginia is poised to be a key battleground state in the race for the White House this fall.

The election is still 283 days away, but both republicans and democrats are getting started trying to get your vote.

Several hundred people packed into the new downtown Richmond headquarters for the Obama campaign Saturday afternoon. Mayor Dwight Jones was one of the people rallying the throngs of volunteers.

"We want four more years," said Mayor Jones.

"Expect phone calls, knocks on the doors, the walks up and down the street, the shaking of your hand and just us letting you know how much we appreciate your support," said Obama campaign volunteer, Sandra Antoine.

Lise Clavel is running Obama's campaign in Virginia. She says both sides know how important Virginia's thirteen electoral votes will be this fall.

"The campaign is going to be putting a lot of resources here in Virginia," said Clavel. "We've already got a pretty big staff on the ground and we're just growing all the time."

Meanwhile, local republicans are also busy trying to take back the White House. Governor Bob McDonnell recently got involved by endorsing former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

"This is the time that makes sense to get out their and help him," said Governor McDonnell.

The ads on television are already starting. You may have seen an ad for President Obama on the air. Soon, you'll see ads from republican candidates ahead of the March 6th GOP primary.

With SUPERPACs pouring unlimited amounts of money into this election, University of Richmond political science Professor Dan Palazzolo says 2012 could be unlike any campaign we've ever seen.

"There's going to be a higher level of volume than we've ever seen before," said Palazzolo. "It's going to start sooner than we've ever seen before so everybody needs to brace themselves."

Palazzolo says the campaigning will start slowly and kick into high gear this summer.

Virginia is one of ten states voting in the republican primary March 6th, but only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul will appear on the ballot.

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