Category Archives: Montana

Obama’s Anti-Kerry Strategy = Genius

In an interview with Politico‘s Ben Smith published this morning, Obama field director Steve Hildebrand vowed that their team would be spending a lot of time and money in Bush country this Fall. He named 14 red states, some of which were close in 2004 and some of which Kerry didn’t even consider, and he also vowed to give resources to down-ticket races in ruby red states like Bush’s Texas and Cheney‘s Wyoming.

The move is genius.

A big reason why Kerry lost is because he had tunnel vision and couldn’t see beyond a handful of competitive swing states in the Midwest, a failed strategy for several reasons: First, it oversaturates the target voters; secondly, it discourages friendly voters in unfriendly states (in this case Dems in red states) from getting involved; and thirdly and most importantly, it sends a very poor signal to the electorate in neglected states (in Kerry’s case the Heartland and South).

When a candidate puts all his chips on one hand, half of the time he’s going to end up felted.

Of course, resources are always an issue and something Kerry didn’t have in abundance. But as Smith notes in the Politico article, “Hilebrand’s plans underscore the unusual scope and ambition of Obama’s campaign, which can relatively cheaply extend its massive volunteer and technological resources into states which won’t necessarily produce electoral votes.”

And the ROI could be substantial. As Hokie fan Daivd “Mudcat” Saunders points out this week in the brilliant Weekly Standard cover piece “When Bubba Meets Obama,” when Dems pick off a Republican voter, it’s a “twofer” — one for Obama, and one less for McCain. Instead, Mudcat says, Dems often fall into the habit of “hunting squirrels they’ve already killed” (more on this story later).

Mudcat will probably be happy to know that the campaign has promised to contest 14 states that Bush carried in ’04 — “The closest four, Iowa, New Mexico, Ohio, Nevada, [Hildebrand] said, would see ‘a ton of attention.'” The campaign also plans to fight for Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Virginia, North Carolina, Montana, North Dakota, Indiana, Georgia and Alaska. Hildebrand also said they’d be spending a lot of time in New Hampshire, and in my personal favorite: Nebraska’s 2nd District.

I think it’s a smart move, and one that will certainly give The Electoral Map a lot to talk about in upcoming months.

South Dakota and Montana Electoral Maps

Once again, Nick Beaudrot comes through with some of the best and sharpest electoral maps in the blogosphere.  Since I’ve never been to South Dakota and I’ve only visited the ski towns of northwest Montana, I’ll leave the analysis with Nick:

Dissecting the Mt. Rushmore State primary, he notes “Obama didn’t win the counties that include the three largest cities in South Dakota: Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Aberdeen. He did quite well in counties with large Native American populations, but Bill Clinton’s visit to Pine Ridge during his Presidency was well remembered; those counties were much closer than the other reservations. The Eastern portion of the state is more heavily populated and less heavily Republican, so Clinton’s big wins tended to come in areas with more votes.”

South Dakota Electoral Map (Cogitamusblog.com)

South Dakota Electoral Map

South Dakota Population Map

South Dakota Population Map

Looking at Montana, Beaudrot observes “The two Clinton counties in the Western portion of the state are Silver Bow and Deer Lodge, the only blue counties in Western Montana. But Obama offset those with big wins in Missoula, Helena, and Gallatin counties.”

Montana Electoral Map (Cogitamusblog.com)

Montana Electoral Map

Montana Population Map

Montana Population Map

Look West, Young Scribes

Both Ben Smith and Chris Cillizza turned their backs to the East today — Smith wrote a quick note about the DNC’s memo about “McCain’s Problems in the West” and Cillizza wrote a post handicapping the Democratic primary in Montana. Both reporters anticipate that the region will be in play. “Except for Utah, those ‘cactus caucus’ state could be hotly contested this fall, taking on Ohio- or Florida-like status in campaign coverage,” Smith suggested.

But Cillizza also sees Montana as a potential Tier I battleground in the Democratic primary in June. “It’s clear that Obama must be considered a favorite in the state given the population hub of Missoula and his on the ground efforts throughout the state,” Cillizza writes. “But it would be a mistake to write Clinton off, as Montana’s primary is not Idaho’s caucuses (or Wyoming’s, or Colorado’s) and she has several pockets of obvious support in the state.”

One thing is for sure, the press corps is sure lucky to have the opportunity to go to Montana in June. Just don’t forget that rules of Big Sky County: “In Montana there’s three things we’re never late for: church, work and fishing.”

The Electoral Map Weekly Compass

The Electoral Map would like to introduce a new feature called the Weekly Compass.  It’ll include stories relating to the electoral map that aren’t big enough for a lengthy post, but are still important or interesting.

What do you think?  Is this informative or does it dilute the point of this blog?

  • Joel Kotkin explains why family-friendly cities like Houston, Dallas or Charlotte are growing faster than “young urban single professional” towns like Baltimore, Newark or Memphis

“Married people with children tend to be both successful and motivated, precisely the people who make economies go. They are twice as likely to be in the top 20% of income earners, according to the Census, and their incomes have been rising considerably faster than the national average.”

“With my beloved Red Sox the World champs again this year, it’s funny watching so many politicians trying to become citizens of Red Sox Nation.”

  • Reid Wilson (a fellow ex-Hotliner) sits down with the “Human Alamanac” a.k.a. Charles Mathesian, editor of the vital Almanac of American Politics. Excerpted from Mathesian:

“What’s important about 2006 is that Democrats have finally broken out of their demographic straight jacket, in terms of the districts that they now possess.

[…]

“[Going in 2006, Democrats] didn’t hold as many suburban districts as they once held. They didn’t hold as many rural districts. They didn’t hold very many Southern districts. As a result of 2006, they’ve really broken through and that’s going to be a tremendous advantage to the party as it shapes its message going forward.”

  • Greg Lemon at NewWest interviews Bob Brown, a former Montana Secretary of State and guru of Big Sky and Western demographics. Excerpted from Brown:

“Since the Rocky Mountain West is hard to define as a region, issues which are important politically throughout the region are not easy to identify.  Public lands management, rural communication systems and health services, stewardship of water, forests and rangelands, energy development and tribal sovereignty are all issues that are important in different parts of the West, but likely to be easily overshadowed by the ‘hot button’ themes that will characterize both campaigns nationally.”

  • John Judis at The New Republic trumpets blue trends in the Bluegrass State.

“The GOP’s grip on Kentucky began to loosen in 2004. Bush carried the state, but, according to exit polls, 40 percent of those who voted for him did so because they disliked John Kerry. In the Senate race that year, Republican Jim Bunning barely won reelection by two points against a little-known state senator. Then, two years later, Democrat John Yarmuth, the editor of an alternative Louisville newsweekly and, by his own description, an ‘unabashed liberal,’ upset five-term Representative Anne Northup. Democrats have also outpaced Republicans in new party registrants, adding 128,392 members from June 2005 to October 2007 while the GOP gained just 97,871. And, this week, in addition to reclaiming the governorship, Democrats scored landslide victories in statewide races for attorney general, treasurer, and auditor.”