Michael Brandy, Deseret News
Heather, left, and Nicole Rentz talk with Danielle Smith at Barack Obama headquarters in Salt Lake.

Barack Obama ratcheted up his Utah campaign presence, opening a new, downtown election office Saturday and appointing a full-time staffer to head the state effort.

Suzanne Gelderman is the new Utah campaign director and has been on board the Obama train for a little over a year. She brings Western-state experience with her, with previous campaign stints in Colorado, Idaho and Montana, and she says this part of the country could play a pivotal role come November.

"The Intermountain West could very well decide this election," Gelderman said.

When asked about the prospect of hoisting a blue banner in a famously red state, Gelderman said she was definitely up to the challenge.

"You are going to see us fighting for the vote all over the state," Gelderman said.

Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake, was in attendance Saturday and said a new level of Democratic energy is in store for the state.

"Standing here today, looking at this crowd, the demographics represented here, it's fantastic," Davis said. "The Democrats are on the rise."

Davis said he is expecting a "knock-out" speech by Obama, scheduled for Thursday evening at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, and he is looking forward to hearing the speech in person, as a Utah Democratic delegate.