September 26, 2004


Pinpointing Battlegrounds Amid Debate Preparations (Mike Allen and Lois Romano, September 26, 2004, Washington)

President Bush will consider making an expensive run for New Jersey's electoral votes and is likely to spend more money in Washington state if his leads in heartland swing states hold up after the opening presidential debate Thursday night, Republican officials said Saturday. [...]

Officials said Bush aides feel that they have locked up Missouri and West Virginia, are confident about Florida and Ohio, and have barely had to fight for Arizona, Arkansas and North Carolina. Republican officials said that White House senior adviser Karl Rove and others in Bush's inner circle are laying plans to expand a potential victory well beyond the states he won in 2000, and into additional Democratic strongholds.

The campaigns were startled by recent news organization polls showing Bush tied with Kerry in New Jersey, which he lost by 16 points in 2000 and which has gone Democratic in the past three elections. Bush aides are debating whether they should reallocate final-days television money to the costly New York City market, which is needed to reach northern New Jersey. Bush has advertised from the beginning in Washington state, where he fell five points short last time, and Republicans said they are prepared to move staff and money there if other swing states become secure.

While NJ would be fun to win, it wouldn't seem to have enough side benefits to be worth a major effort, unlike WA, where the GOP could add a governor and a senator with a big night.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 26, 2004 12:00 AM

Whither Pennsylvania?

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at September 26, 2004 1:35 AM

I was thinking the same thing. The Philly TV market makes sense, and it hits southern Jersey. If Bush is going to fight for PA, the incremental cost of covering northern Jersey might be a good incremental bet. I'm dubious about the NJ polling results, though.

Posted by: Dave Sheridan at September 26, 2004 3:35 AM

Seems to me that going for NJ forces Kerry to ante up to defend it. Since Kerry is on the defensive right now, that would put a big crimp in his ability to ever switch to the offensive. Not that it matters, since this election is not and was never going to be close. But since Bush has shown signs of wanting to bring in a stronger GOP Congress, NJ doesn't help with that.

Posted by: brian at September 26, 2004 3:55 AM

Well, yes, but the president is clearly having too much fun. And as that great philosopher-guitarist David Bromberg has told us, "You've got to suffer if you want to swing the blues."

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at September 26, 2004 7:09 AM

Dino Rossi is the strongest candidate we've had in ages. "Osama-been-philanthropist" Patty Murray is vulnerable at last. But rest assured, the morons of Seattle will re-elect "Baghdad Jim" McDermott (instead of trying him for sedition, which is what should be done with him.) I hope Bush gives a huge push here in the next month. This could be a Red state!

Posted by: at September 26, 2004 9:01 AM