Obama Campaign Pulling Up Stakes in North Dakota
by Jonathan Singer, Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 09:20:47 AM EDT
According to the Associated Press, the Obama campaign is pulling out of North Dakota, a state that appeared to possibly be on the map, but also a state that the Democrats had not carried in more than 40 years (or gotten more than 43 percent in more than 30 years).
Barack Obama, who has deployed more than 50 staffers in North Dakota in an attempt to become the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since 1964, is pulling out.
An Obama spokeswoman, Amy Brundage, confirmed Sunday that the campaign's North Dakota staffers were being sent to Minnesota and Wisconsin, where recent polls have shown a tight race between Obama and Republican John McCain.
She declined to say how many campaign workers were being shifted, but other Democratic activists put the number at more than 50. Obama has opened 11 North Dakota campaign offices and run television advertising in the state, which is unusual for a Democratic presidential candidate.
McCain's campaign has no paid staff or offices in North Dakota.
The reaction from many has been, see, we have the same map as always, that Obama isn't running a 50-state campaign. Rubbish. Two of the swingiest states this year -- Virginia and Colorado -- were not genuinely on the map four years ago, nor have they been among the list of most contested states consistently or even infrequently over the last four decades. Even a state like Indiana, which George W. Bush won by more than 20 points in 2004, is in play.
I will be updating race rankings here in the next couple of days, and indeed it will show a map with fewer states in play than there were a few months ago. So what. That's what happens in campaigns. But in general, there appear to be more states in play this fall than there have been in other recent elections, and the states in play tend to be redder than the ones that have been on the map at this juncture (particularly Virginia, Colorado and Indiana) -- facts that greatly undermine the notion that we're playing on the same electoral map as we always have.