September 27, 2006
It seems the rationale centers on the amount of local coverage that would saturate the states of Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. Frankly, it makes sense. Of all the "Blue States" that the GOP have a chance of flipping, Minnesota and Wisconsin are probably the most logical (Iowa went for Bush in 2004, barely).
In 2004, John Kerry won Wisconsin by 11,384 votes (50% to 49%) and Minnesota by 98,319 votes (51% to 48%). All three states used to be reliable Democrat carries but the margins have gotten thinner in the last couple of election cycles. Minnesota was the only state won by Mondale in 1984 (it was his home state).
As far as party affiliation goes, the 2004 exit polls showed the following break-down:
IA: 36% Republican, 34% Democrat, 30% Independent
MN: 35% Republican, 38% Democrat, 27% Independent
WI: 38% Republican, 35% Democrat, 27% Independent
Had Bush carried Minnesota and Wisconsin in 2004, the Electoral College result would have been Bush: 306 v. Kerry: 232. That's a 40 vote swing - not insignificant.
It makes no sense to have the convention in a "Red State". Although its debatable how much influence the site has on the election itself, in a part of the country where the margin is so razor thin it can only help.
Any city in the Northeast or on the West Coast would not have made sense (though in 2004, a rebuilding NY City got a major economic shot in the arm by hosting the Republicans).
So if the "Red States" are getting redder and the "Blue States" are getting bluer, it makes sense to focus on the "Purple" ones. My initial impression here is that this was a good move. I can't help but wonder if this is part of a broader long-term strategy of the RNC.
Captain Ed (a MN native) is pleased. And he also has the scoop on how the Dems lost out:
At the end, though, [Minneapolis Democrat Mayor R.T.] Rybak tried his best to get the Democrats to pull the trigger first. After hearing that the GOP had decided to go with the Twin Cities, Rybak called his party chair and warned him that the Democrats had to act fast if they wanted to get the nod. Dean couldn't get the DNC to make the decision, and the Republicans held the field. This doesn't necessarily mean that the Democrats couldn't also meet here, but it's unlikely, and that means they have given the GOP a golden opportunity to sweep the Upper Midwest in 2008.Heh.
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