With all the attention given to the nip-and-tuck battles for the electoral votes in swing states such as Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, it is almost out of the question to find Minnesota entering into the equation in the last days of the 2012 election.
But that now seems a very real possibility. According to a just completed Mason-Dixon poll, however, President Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney in the race for the Gopher State‚??s 10 electoral votes by a margin of 47 to 44 percent among likely voters statewide. These figures come days after a Rasmussen Poll showed Obama‚??s lead over Romney to be 51 to 46 percent in Minnesota.
‚??We are having talks with the Romney campaign about Gov. Romney or Paul Ryan or both coming here in the final days of the campaign,‚?Ě Minnesota State GOP Chairman Pat Shortridge told Human Events on Monday, adding the caveat that the cancellation of the GOP candidates‚?? events over the next two days because of Hurricane Sandy could make an appearance by either ‚??a little more difficult to arrange.‚?Ě
Whether Romney and/or Ryan make it to Minnesota or not, the Washington Post reported on Monday that their campaign has increased their television time buys in the state. Obviously concerned about slipping in the state, the Obama campaign is ‚??launching a $500,000 buy in the Twin Cities media market,‚?Ě reported the Post.
As further evidence that national Democrats are worried about Romney gaining ground in Minnesota, Shortridge noted that ‚??Bill Clinton is coming here tomorrow to campaign for Obama.‚?Ě
Minnesota! The very thought that the home of such liberal Democratic icons as Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Paul Wellstone, and present Sen. Al Franken could opt to give its electoral votes to Romney boggles the mind of any political ‚??junkie.‚?Ě But, if the polls and reports from people on the ground are to be believed, it appears quite possible that in one week, Minnesota could go for a Republican presidential candidate for the first time in 40 years.
‚??Minnesotans, like the rest of the country, are frustrated with what we have in the White House now,‚?Ě said Shortridge, ‚??and, like most Midwesterners, they say ‚??don‚??t tell me what you‚??re going to do, but just do it.‚?? They see our economy is a disaster and our foreign policy is in shambles, and Obama can no longer turn to the teleprompter and explain his way out of it.”
The Democratic history of Minnesota notwithstanding, Shortridge noted that Republicans gained considerable ground in 2010 by capturing control of both houses of the state legislature, winning a U.S. House district that had been in Democratic hands since 1948, and narrowly lost the governorship.
‚??And, with our Democratic governor (Mark Dayton) fighting them all the way, the Republican legislature showed that lower taxes and less regulation are the way to go,‚?Ě added Shortridge. ‚??They turned a $6 billion deficit into a $1 billion surplus as the governor insisted raising taxes on the wealthy was the only way to go. He was like Captain Ahab with Moby Dick. So what happened here is very similar to the national situation.‚?Ě
The GOP chairman also told us how there are ‚??more victory centers than ever and our volunteers are fired up.‚?Ě
‚??This weekend was the quietest I‚??ve seen here in many election years,‚?Ě former Republican Rep. and 2006 U.S. Senate nominee Mark Kennedy told us, ‚??and quiet is good for Republicans.‚?Ě