Obama Campaign: Alaska Is A "Battleground State"

Hey, Quinnipiac, you want a battleground state? Try Alaska.

Not only does a recent Rasmussen Reports poll show McCain up by just 4 points (within the margin of error) but the Obama campaign has set its sights on the state, having already put its ad up on the air there and now signaling that Obama may even visit Alaksa later this summer, the first time a presidential candidate has campaigned there since Kennedy in 1960.

From Anchorage Daily News (h/t Matt Browner Hamlin in Breaking Blue):

"That is the plan -- we are pretty sure he's going to come at the end of the summer," said Kat Pustay, who was named Wednesday as Obama's Alaska director.

Obama is opening a campaign office in Anchorage with paid staff, although Pustay said she didn't know yet just how big the operation will be here.

"The campaign in Chicago is saying this is a battleground state so we're going to get resources," she said.

Looks like Alaska is part of the campaign's strategy to mount the general election equivalent of its caucus state strategy during the primary.

Obama's national campaign manager, David Plouffe...said Obama is looking for multiple paths to victory and that could include mounting intensive precinct efforts in small-population states where McCain has fewer resources to compete, such as Alaska, according to McClatchy Newspapers.

And what are McCain's plans for Alaska? Not much.

She said McCain doesn't expect to open a campaign office in Alaska but there could be a "victory office" in cooperation with the Republican National Committee. She said she would not rule out the possibility of McCain having paid staff here.

Benton said Alaska is "not in our top tier of target states" but it's a place where McCain's message will resonate.

"Victory" office, eh? Not so fast, Senator.

And speaking of Alaska, if you haven't given to Mark Begich's campaign for Senate over at our Road To 60 Act Blue page, please do.

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, Alaska, Barack Obama, John McCain (all tags)



Re: Obama Campaign: Alaska Is A "Battleground

Well, there's that old saying about assuming things---I can't recall it, but I think it says that then they turn out OK.  So McCain should be fine.  :)

More seriously, there's a chance he's planning to pick Sarah Palin as VP, so at that point he'd have the state easily.

by bosdcla14 2008-06-26 05:28PM | 0 recs
Nixon went to Alaska too (and hurt his chances)

If Obama visits Alaska, it will not be "the first time a presidential candidate has campaigned there since Kennedy in 1960." Nixon, that same year, had promised to be the first presidential candidate to personally visit all 50 states during the course of the campaign. A knee injury almost kept him from keeping this promise. After spending two weeks in Walter Reed Hospital, Nixon's advisors told him to abandon his promise but he insisted on making up lost time. In the closing days of a grueling campaign he finally made it to Alaska.  This distraction from more important states that year, such as Illinois and Texas, was considered, after that election, one of the major reasons that Nixon lost.

by tyva 2008-06-26 05:40PM | 0 recs
Nixon lost Illinois

That's why he lost the election Obama won the nomination by thinking out of the box.

by RandyMI 2008-06-26 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Nixon lost Illinois

Kennedy would have won even without Illinois. Nobody ever seems to point this out.

by conspiracy 2008-06-27 04:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Nixon

People like to point to Nixon's visit to Alaska as an example of bad campaign strategy, but the fact is that he only won the state by about 1,000 votes.

by Angry White Democrat 2008-06-26 06:32PM | 0 recs
I'm relieved

Gore and Kerry were disasters because they liisted their own playing field and gave Bush 60 yards before the game even started.

by RandyMI 2008-06-26 05:58PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm relieved

I remembered Mary Beth Cahill today and shuddered.

by agpc 2008-06-26 06:55PM | 0 recs
I agree

I think an aggressive campaign in a state like Alaska could easily turn it blue in November.  I grew up in northern Missouri, and can tell you that at the end of the day people from less populated states just need to shake your hand and know that you care about them.

by Xris 2008-06-26 06:26PM | 0 recs
3 electoral votes (why it matters)

Wow!  When it rains it pours.  If Obama is serious about visiting Alaska, then I guess it's  landslide election.  Honestly, Ohio and Missouri should be where the Obama campaign focuses... Even though the 3 electoral votes that Alaska possess could have put Gore over the top in 2000.

by nzubechukwu 2008-06-26 07:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Let say

I think you folks may be missing the point: Obama's head-fake towards Alaska isn't really about the electoral votes but attempting to make McCain flip on his opposition to ANWR.  McCain has already alluded that he's open to reconsidering his position.

This environment is a quickly emerging issue amongst  evangelicals.  It's another way put McCain further at odds with, what has to be, his base.

by such sweet thunder 2008-06-26 11:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Let say

It's also about the down-ballot races, with serious chances to flip a House and Senate seat with energized Democrats.

In a small state such as Alaska, there is tremendous opportunity in the synergy of this year - we have strong, reasonably-financed challengers in the House and Senate races. For the first time in the state's recent history, there will be three competitive statewide campaigns pushing the Democratic brand and the Democratic message.

by Last Frontier Democrat 2008-06-26 11:51PM | 0 recs
Two words for you

Bob Barr ... this is where it will get very interesting, especially in states like Montana, Georgia and Alaska.  

by Eric11 2008-06-26 07:38PM | 0 recs

...maybe he'll be there for the state fair!

I'd be so jealous.  Best choclate shake in the world is found at the Alaska State Fair Scottish Rite booth.

by DawnG 2008-06-26 07:50PM | 0 recs
Obama can win Alaska

Obama is still the underdog but the polls are close enough that he can make a play in Alaska. If McCain does nothing to shore up support then there is a good chance he could take it away.

On a side note, Gov. Palin would be a good VP choice for McCain but I strongly doubt she would want to leave her job in the middle of her first term. Maybe she will someday have more national influence in the future but not in this election cycle.

by Jaxx Raxor 2008-06-26 08:16PM | 0 recs
Alaska Is a Trap for McCain

The Obama campaign is setting a trap for McCain. True, Alaska may actually be winnable for Obama, if he makes a good showing in Alaska.

But my guess is this is part of a strategy to run the old man (McCain) ragged with long-distance trips.

It's clear from the Politico.com story on Wednesday that McCain has been mainly taking weekends off, and his staff tries to conserve his energy. By spreading the playing field and making McCain play everywhere, McCain will have no rest.

And if they do end up having some of those small community "debates," McCain is more likely to make a gaffe if he's tired.

That's a plan with a purpose.

by Juris 2008-06-26 08:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Alaska Is a Trap for McCain

Eh, the charted air craft that the candidates use afford plenty of rest.  They have their own rooms with beds on those planes you know. The real problem with the trip is the down time for the travel.

by dMarx 2008-06-26 09:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Alaska Is a Trap for McCain

I wasn't referring so much to the hassle of the travel but to the fact that it's going to take a couple of days out of McCain's schedule, and he can less afford those days than Obama can since he's behind -- and this to defend a state that he would normally be assuming is his. I do think, however, that McCain is going to get worn out, and that any extra trips will contribute to that.

by Juris 2008-06-26 09:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Alaska Is a Trap for McCain

Do not underestimate just how much constant travel can sap a person.

I flew 130,000 miles last year between business trips, vacations and college visits, sleeping in hotels for an aggregate of over 100 nights. Even for my young body, that took a toll. Multiply that times four, and you've got a presidential campaign schedule...

Yes, the nice comfy chartered 757s help. But they don't entirely take the sting out of waking up in a different time zone every day.

by Last Frontier Democrat 2008-06-26 09:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Alaska Is a Trap for McCain

I hope Barack doesn't accept the current debate proposal as presented by the commission.

''Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama "would sit at a table at two of three presidential debates this fall, according to a formal proposal unveiled Thursday, which, perhaps unintentionally, would neutralize Obama's height advantage," according to McClatchy Newspapers.

"The Commission on Presidential Debates proposed the less formal, more conversational talk-show format for two of three 90-minute debates it's seeking this fall. The third debate would be a town hall-style session in which the candidates would be free to get up from high stools and walk around the stage."''

Why two sit-down talk-show debates? I hope they insist on dropping one for a formal podium set-up.

by conspiracy 2008-06-27 04:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Alaska Visit A No-Brainer

July, August, September, October -- if Obama can't find time in his schedule sometimes in the next four months to visit Alaska he's stoopid. He ain't stoopid, so we will see him in Alaska.

Great Photo ops, too. And what is gonna get more TV time outside the local market, his third campaign appearance in Dayton or the first stop in Alaska by a Democratic candidate since 1960?

Careful planning can make the red-eye trip from the East Coast just another sleep-over on the candidate's plane. Hard on those on the press plane, but they earned it. ;-)

Let's hope he does more than a one-stop in Anchorage. That would be like going to Illinois and only stopping in Chicago. They wouldn't like that downstate. So Obama needs to give respect to the 60% of the voters in the rest of Alaska.

by Woody 2008-06-27 08:22AM | 0 recs


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