The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Election 2012

October 31, 2012

GOP talks up chances in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota

(Continued)

Christopher Nicholas, a former GOP consultant who is now political director for the Pennsylvania Business Council, said of Romney: “He’s doing less poorly in Philadelphia suburbs than a basic Republican has, and the president is collapsing in the southwest.”

“The lead here is four or five [percentage points], and I don’t think one week of TV is going to alter that,” said former governor Edward G. Rendell, a Democrat. He also indicated that Obama has a significantly larger get-out-the-vote operation than Romney does.

Rich Beeson, Romney’s political director, countered by telling reporters that Romney’s ground operation is “incredibly strong” in Pennsylvania and has been in place “since day one” of the campaign.

Minnesota would seem to be a reach for Romney: It hasn’t voted Republican since 1972, making it the state with the longest streak of voting for Democratic presidential candidates. But it has elected two Republican governors and an independent over the past two decades and while the current governor, Mark Dayton, is a Democrat, Republicans control the legislature.

Romney, however, has had scant presence in the state, leading analysts to question whether this is all a head fake by the GOP. “Romney has absolutely no ground game [in Minnesota],” said one outside Romney adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid in assessing the race. “I can’t imagine it’s real.”

Others familiar with Minnesota politics, on both sides of the aisle, said that while Romney remains slightly behind in the state, the race is tighter, making it a smart move for the Republican candidate to invest some of his extensive resources there.

They pointed to a recent Minneapolis Star-Tribune poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research that showed Obama ahead by only three points, within the margin of error, and said Romney is doing well among the independent voters who tend to decide elections in Minnesota.

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