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Clinton’s California aces are in Texas, Ohio

From the New York Times today, describing how Hillary Clinton’s campaign is pouring personnel and resources into the “firewall” states of Ohio and Texas:

In Texas, it means working the Rio Grande Valley to maximize her margin among Hispanics.

She is deploying the same organizing ace — named Ace Smith, as it happens — who oversaw her nine-point victory in California. There, by two to one, she dominated a Latino constituency that outpaced pre-election estimates by amounting to 30 percent of the voters.

In Texas, both campaigns say, the Hispanic vote could reach 40 percent of the turnout. Capitalizing on early voting procedures tied to satellite polling locations rather than mail-in ballots, Mr. Smith sees dividends already, with early South Texas turnout exceeding that in the Obama strongholds of Austin and Houston.

Mr. Smith minimizes the importance of Mr. Obama’s financial superiority in television advertising and direct mail, since Mrs. Clinton is already universally known. More significant, he argues, is her campaign’s commitment to compete with Mr. Obama in Texas caucuses far more earnestly than in past caucus fights. Those caucuses occur the same day as the primary and will select about one-third of the state’s convention delegates.

“We’re going to be highly organized,” Mr. Smith said, “and every bit as aggressive as the Obama people.”

Ace Smith, you’ll recall, is a Bay Area-based strategist with scads of campaigns under his belt, most recently Jerry Brown’s run for Attorney General in 2006.

The Times didn’t mention that Luis Vizcaino, after serving as Clinton’s California communications director, is now among her message men in Ohio.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.