Category Archives: Ohio

The Five Places McCain Should Go

Cross-posted at The Next Right.

Politico‘s Charlie Mahtesian and Amie Parnes wrote an article yesterday about the “Five Places Obama Should Go,” and four out of the five areas they identified were places where he struggled against Clinton: Broward County, FL (Jews), Youngstown, OH (blue-collar, gun-owning Catholics), San Antonio (Latinos) and Mingo Couny, WV (“the heart of the anti-Obama belt”). The fifth suggestion — Maricopa County, AZ — was clearly aimed at McCain.

If four out of the five places Obama has to go are aimed at shoring up his base, it means he still has plenty of loose ends to tie up from the primary before he starts trying to win over independents and Republicans.

With that in mind, where are the five places that McCain should go?

This is a tough one, since most of his weaknesses seem to be more personal (age, speaking skills, Bush) rather than geographic. Still, I think visiting areas where Obama is vulnerable and putting him on the defensive would be a smart move — So, how about:

  1. Ohio River Valley Tour — From Pittsburgh to St. Louis — When it comes to the Ohio River Valley, the bad news for the GOP is that the party’s brand is in poor shape in this border region and has been resulting in substantial loses on the congressional level (think PA-04, OH-18, KY-03, IN-08 and IN-09, and the near-miss in OH-02). The good news for the GOP is that Obama is very unpopular here and was pummeled by Hillary in the primaries. In one trip, McCain could hit competitive areas in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Missouri, while also challenging the myth that Kentucky could become competitve and even making a symbolic swing through the Land of Lincoln.
  2. Fairfield County, Conn. — A campaign stop with New York-area Jews and Joe Lieberman would inevitably shine a light on Obama’s comments about Iran and would fan media speculation that the state could become competitive. And Henry Kissinger lives in Kent, an hour up the beautiful Housatonic Valley from Fairfield County — perhaps he could lend an opinion on Obama’s foreign policy?
  3. Northern Suburbs of Milwaukee, Wis. — The suburbs will be key nationwide and Wisconsin is a vital target state for the GOP. The north and west ‘burbs of Milwaukee also “remain overwhelmingly Republican,” notes Democratic pollster Paul Maslin. But “If Obama can crack them to any degree he probably wins the state by several points.” Besides shoring up support with voters, a McCain appearance in the “Beer Capital of the World” would also remind the media that he’s the beer track candidate and Obama is the wine track one. It would also be smart to campaign with fellow Teddy Roosevelt Republican Tommy Thompson.
  4. Grand Rapids — Michigan might be Obama’s most blue vulnerable state and Gerald Ford’s hometown is at the ideological intersection of what Patrick Ruffini once called “the real dividing lines of” the GOP primary — wealthy suburbanites, religious conservatives and Ford-like mainline moderates. A smart sidekick would be Mitt Romney, who beat McCain in Grand Rapids by a 38-31% margin.
  5. Iowa, Early and Often — Iowa might be McCain’s most vulnerable state; he clearly has never built much of an operation here. He needs to visit Iowa… repeatedly.



Hillary Analyzes the Electoral Map

No, not this blog, but the small-letter electoral map. Here’s what she had to say about the political geography:

“You have to look at what the electoral map is likely to be in the fall, and I don’t think anybody doubts that a Democrat has to have a number of the big states anchored in order to put together the electoral votes needed to win.

“There’s a generally accepted position that Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida are the critical swing states for Democrats, and that you have to try to win at least two out of three. I would like to win three out of three, and I think it is significant that I have won Ohio and I’ve won Florida, and I’ve won the big states that would serve as those anchors for the electoral map.”

Anchors away, Mrs. Clinton!

Cillizza to Begin Rating Top 10 States Most Likely to Flip

The Fix’s Chris Cillizza announced on Friday that he’s going to begin dedicating his Friday Line to rating which states are most likely to flip from red to blue (or vice versa) in the presidential election.  In last week’s Line, Cillizza offered his base-Line and predicted that eight of the 10 states most likely to flip were carried by George W. Bush.

Here’s an abbreviated version of his post, followed by my analysis:

10. Missouri (Bush 53% in 2004) — Cillizza: “The state is still conservative-minded on most social issues, however, which could make it something of a longshot for either Obama or Clinton.” Me: As a white woman, Hillary has a better shot.

9. Minnesota (Kerry 51%) – “If [Republican Gov. Tim] Pawlenty is picked [as McCain’s running mate], Minnesota is in play and could certainly move up the Line.” It’s no surprise the Republicans picked the Twin Cities for their Convention.

8. Florida (Bush 52%) – “Our guess it that Florida in 2008 looks more like 2000 than 2004 — especially if Clinton is the Democratic nominee.”  Could new, independent voters in the I-4 corridor and the thawing of Cuban-American relations with Democrats tip the state back toward to the donkey party?

7. New Hampshire (Kerry 50%) – “Granite State voters created McCain in 2000 and saved him eight years later. There is real affinity there and, given the close result in 2004, the state is almost certainly in play.” Who would win a McCain-Obama battle for New Hampshire’s independents?

6. Virginia (Bush 54%) – “McCain’s military background could well help him in the Hampton Roads area, but, if Obama is the Democratic nominee, the Commonwealth’s 19 percent black population could also make a major difference.”  McCain would have to run up huge margins outside of NoVA.

5. Ohio (Bush 51%) – “While the disaster that is the Ohio GOP at the moment makes it very tough for them to win statewide races, McCain and the Republican National Committee will fund and build their voter identification and get out the vote effort.”  Clinton would start strong here, buoyed by Gov. Ted Strickland.

4. Colorado (Bush 52%) – “McCain’s ties to the west should help his cause but Colorado looks like it’s moving in the opposite direction.” The Democrats’ Denver Convention will help them.

3. Nevada (Bush 50%) – “As a result of the ever-changing electorate, it’s tough to predict what November will hold for the two parties.” Do Las Vegas residents vote?

2. New Mexico (Bush 50%) – “Democrats enjoyed a 50 percent to 33 percent registration edge over Republicans at the start of the year; that is a considerable head start heading into November.”  What do McCain’s southwestern credentials count for?

1. Iowa (Bush 50%) – “The millions spent by the Democratic presidential campaigns in advance of the state’s Jan. 3 caucus should give a HUGE boost to their party’s chances in the general election.”  A natural Democratic state that I was surprised to see vote Republican in 2004.

Hill is Racking Up Huge Wins in Appalachia

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has an interesting postmortem about how Hillary Clinton won Ohio by racking up votes in the rural part of the state. Plain Dealer reporter Mark Naymik noted, “It came down to places like ‘The Little Smokies,’ the hilly region where the Scioto and Ohio rivers meet, more than 200 miles south of Cleveland.” In Scioto County, for example, Hillary won with a whopping 81%.

Hillary success in the region was due in no small part to her support from Gov. Ted Strickland (D), who was born in Scioto County and used to represent the Sixth Congressional District along the Ohio River.

J-Mart also picked up on Hill’s success in Ohio Appalachia, noting, “She won every county in Strickland’s old district, many of them with over 70% of the vote.”

That’s true, but Clinton has also dominated in Appalachian counties from Winchester, Va. to Chattanooga, Tenn. In Virginia, she only won one congressional district, and that was rugged Ninth District represented by Rick Boucher, who happens to be a fervent Obama support.

Judging by her success in Appalachia so far, can we expect her to absolutely dominate in Pennsyltucky?

Hillary Clinton’s Ohio Electoral Map (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Hillary Clinton’s Ohio Electoral Map

Ohio Congressional Districts (Hat tip, Jonathan Martin)

Ohio Congressional Districts

Democratic Virginia Electoral Map (New York Times)

Democratic Virginia Electoral Map

Virginia Ninth Congressional District (

Virginia Ninth Congressional District

“Pennsyltucky” (Wikipedia) — everything between Philly and Pittsburgh.



Darke Outlook for Democrats in Rural Ohio

The Washington Post has a really interesting article today about the voting habits in western Ohio and Darke County in particular.  They conclude that Darke County is as out of the hands of Democrats now as it was in 2004, when George W. Bush took over 70%.  Since its an article about Dems and rural strategy, the Post naturally has to quote my pal from The Hotline, Mudcat Saunders.  Mudcat has some good insight about how Dems don’t need to win there, but should at least cut their losses.

The article’s worth a read.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Democrats have been pummeled at the polls [here] since Ronald Reagan‘s presidency. The flat state highway takes you past acres and acres of brown farmland first, with wooden barns in the distance and hardly ever a political sign planted in a yard. Greenville is the seat of Darke County, which typically ranks first in the state in corn and soybean production.


“‘We don’t have to win these counties, but we have to lose them better,'” says John Hagner, the state party’s field and targeting director. The fall strategy: Win southeastern Ohio, compete in the small towns of the north and cut the losses in the exurban and rural counties, such as Darke.”

2004 Ohio Electoral Map (

2004 Ohio Electoral Map

2006 Gubernatorial Electoral Map (

2006 Gubernatorial Electoral Map

2008 Democratic Primary Electoral Map (New York Times)

2008 Democratic Primary Electoral Map

Super Tuesday II Maps: Hillary Confirms Her Coalition

Hillary Clinton made another first down last night, but it wasn’t enough to put her into the lead. She also reaffirmed the narrative that she has strong support in blue-collar and Latino communities, winning the Rust-Belt state of Ohio by 10 points and the border state of Texas by four.

In Ohio, she took the two counties surrounding Youngstown — the town that Springsteen lamented was littered by “scrap and rubble” — by a combined 46,000 votes. It was a clear display of her appeal in economically depressed areas.

In Texas, she won El Paso — the town that lent its name to a salsa — by 41,255 votes, and took Hidalgo County — home to the border-boomtown of McAllen — by 39,603. Those wide margins of victories demonstrated her appeal with Latinos.

For his part, Barack Obama made up significant ground in the last two weeks and nearly clipped Hilary in Texas, but geographically, he doesn’t have much to brag about.

In Ohio, he won only the counties that house Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati (and one more bordering Columbus) and lost 83 counties. In Texas, he won 25 counties — mostly pocketed around Dallas, Austin and Houston — and lost 226 counties. Obama’s dependence on urban votes certainly didn’t do much to prove his argument that he has appeal in traditionally red areas.

On the GOP side, McCain swept all 88 counties in Ohio and won 184 in Texas. Mike Huckabee was able to take a cluster near the Arkansas border that rippled southwest from Texarkana (which by the way he won by 48 points).

Oh yeah, and there were elections in Vermont and Rhode Island on Tuesday, too. McCain won every county in the GOP contests in both states, Obama swept the Green Mountain State and Hillary swept the Ocean State.

Texas Democratic Electoral Map (New York Times)

Texas Democratic Electoral Map

Texas Democratic Electoral Map (New York Times)

Texas Democratic Electoral Map

Texas Republican Electoral Map (New York Times)

Texas Republican Electoral Map

Ohio Democratic Electoral Map (New York Times)

Ohio Democratic Electoral Map

Ohio Democratic Electoral Map (New York Times)

Ohio Democratic Electoral Map

Texas Republican Electoral Map (New York Times)

Ohio Republican Electoral Map

Thanks for being Patient

I’ll post Super Tuesday II results later today. With the Politics Online Conference conference and other work, I’m a little backed up. But there’s a lot to report, like how Obama dominated Dallas, Austin and Houston but lost almost every other county in Texas. Or how Clinton rode Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s coattails in rural parts of the Buckeye State. Check back in again soon.