On Monday, I visited Hamilton, Warren, and Delaware counties in Ohio. Last week, I visited Wisconsin and Florida. I am writing this from Kansas City, Missouri.
Here are some observations.
First, Ohio, which the news media has designated the key swing state. If they are right, it is very likely Mitt Romney is the next president.
Hamilton County is Cincinnati and its suburbs. Historically, Cincinnati was a Republican stronghold. In 2008 Obama carried this county by 27,000 votes. I met with 75 volunteers and they unanimously thought Romney would carry Hamilton County. This is the home base of Sen. Rob Portman, and they are very proud of the role he played in debate preparation. That is helping energize the volunteer base.
We then went to Lebanon, in Warren County. This is a Republican stronghold, and the wildly enthusiastic Republican volunteers certainly reflected their passion for defeating Obama. Romney will come out of Warren County with a huge majority, much bigger than McCain in 2008.
Finally, we joined a rally for Josh Mandel at Blackwing gun store and shooting center in Delaware County. Josh is a former Marine in Iraq and the current state treasurer. He is a solid conservative running against the most liberal member of the Senate, Sherrod Brown (who literally scores to the left of Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, a self proclaimed Socialist). Mandel has a good chance to win and recent polls show the election very close.
The crowd in Delaware County was enthusiastic and very pro-Romney and pro-Mandel.
In eastern Ohio the news about the massive natural gas and oil development is moving the state toward Romney. Ohio certainly feels like Romney has the momentum to win.
In Wisconsin, the Republican volunteers have been campaigning nonstop because of the recall effort against Gov. Scott Walker. Wisconsin Republicans are very excited about having their favorite son, Paul Ryan, on the ballot. Former Gov. Tommy Thompson, winner of five statewide elections, is now ahead by about three points in his race with Tammy Baldwin, one of the most radical members of the House. I am confident Tommy is going to win and I think the Romney-Ryan ticket is going to carry the state, but by a narrower margin than the Senate race.
In Florida, I campaigned with Congressman Allen West who is locked in a very tight race in a new district. He is one of the most courageous and committed conservatives in Congress and everyone who can help him should do so.
In other Florida news, two newspapers which had endorsed Obama in 2008 endorsed Romney this weekend. Their impact was not as big nationally as the Des Moines Register — which had last endorsed a Republican 40 years ago — but it still had an impact. There is an emerging story of the number of newspapers that have abandoned Obama around the country.
The Tampa Tribune reported that its poll of the I-4 corridor, one of the most important swing areas in Florida, indicated Romney would carry the state by a handy margin. In fact, Romney’s rise may also be closing the gap in the Senate race and giving Connie Mack a chance to beat liberal democrat Bill Nelson.
Finally, I am writing this from Kansas City, Mo. where Todd Akin is locked in a very tight race with liberal Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. Akin had a problem early on with some unfortunate remarks he made about rape and pregnancy. He apologized, withdrew his remarks and continued campaigning. McCaskill is being weighed down by her vote for Obamacare six weeks after Missourians voted by 71 percent to reject it.
Many Missourians seem to think a six second verbal mistake is not as damaging as a six year liberal voting record.
A recent local newspaper poll showed Akin behind 45-43. If you are an incumbent senator, and you have thrown the kitchen sink at your opponent, and only 45 percent are for you, you have a big problem. Romney is likely to carry Missouri by 13 percent or more. That gives Akin a real opportunity to win.
These four states give you a pretty good overview of both the presidential and the senatorial situation. It is close, but trending Republican.
I think it is going to be an exciting week.