McCain Hopes to Turn the Map Purple

Jonathan Martin has a great article up today about how the McCain camp plans to challenge the “red state/blue state paradigm.”  Writing from Exeter, N.H., Martin notes that McCain could shift the Granite State back into the Republican column, and possibly swing Maine and Connecticut – two states with independent heritages – while he’s at it.

Aside from those Northeast states, J-Mart turns to the traditional swing states in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest, which – let’s be honest – are likely to be contested no matter what.  Martin also adds that as a Western senator with moderate immigration views, McCain starts with a strong hand in the purple Mountain West states of Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.

But I think the most telling part of the article is McCain’s insistence that he can reclaim Ronald Reagan’s California. “I intend to contest all over America, including the state of California,” McCain told reporters. At the very least, McCain could bait Democrats into spending resources in the Golden State. The Bush campaign tried this in 2000, devoting $20 million to Gore’s zero, but still lost by 11 points.

Martin compares McCain’s blueprint to that of his potential Democratic opponents, noting that Barack Obama also hopes to change the maps. “Obama’s camp is touting primary and caucus victories in Colorado, Iowa, Missouri and Virginia,” Martin writes, but he adds that Obama could have a tough time in blue-collar Pennsylvania and Ohio. If it’s Clinton, McCain would target suburbanites who might be thrown off by her polarization. 

But Martin is sure to note that McCain’s vision to turn the electoral map as purple as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ uniforms is built on hypothetical scenarios. “McCain is in a position similar to that of a hopeful baseball team in spring training,” he writes. “There is great potential on paper, but the long season has yet to begin.” 

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