Every campaign has important regional fundraisers and surrogate speakers. In Obama's case, a number of his most vigorous supporters ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2004 - the same year Obama won his seat in Congress.The list includes South Carolina's Inez Tenenbaum, Oklahoma's Brad Carson, and South Dakota's Tom Daschle. Daschle's old campaign staff -- from top almost to bottom -- are now working for Obama (not to mention the many who moved from Daschle's to Obama's Senate office in 2005).
And what's more: the method is precedented.
When he ran for president in 1976, Jimmy Carter helped build a network of supporters for his campaign by contacting Democratic candidates who had been defeated in 1974. Rather than focusing solely on the endorsements of powerful elected officials and well-known pols, Carter tapped into the networks of unsuccessful office-seekers in order to strengthen his campaign's national reach.