The McCain campaign had been spending time and money on the state of Michigan in the hopes it might pick off a typically blue state and turn it red. Not much of a surprise here since Michigan went for Kerry in 2004 and Gore in 2000. It was a long shot but last night the McCain campaign announced it will be reallocating resources to other important swing states.
Report from Fox News:
WASHINGTON — In a major concession, Republican John McCain has abandoned efforts to win Michigan, a Democratic-leaning battleground state the GOP presidential candidate had hoped to capture.
Republican officials with knowledge of the strategy said the GOP nominee is removing staff, curtailing advertising and canceling visits to the Midwestern state, which offers 17 electoral votes. Resources will be sent to Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida and other competitive states.
News of McCain’s decision came as Democrat Barack Obama prepared to take the stage for a rally at Michigan State University, his third event in the state in five days. If he knew about McCain’s plans, Obama didn’t mention it and continued to criticize his rival’s economic policies as just a continuation of the Bush administration philosophy.
“My opponents’ philosophy isn’t just wrongheaded, it reveals out how out of touch he really is,” Obama told more than 15,000 who gathered on a chilly fall afternoon.
Word of the strategy change also came as attention was focused on the vice presidential debate between Republican Sarah Palin and Democrat Joe Biden.
Democrat John Kerry won Michigan in 2004, but McCain had identified it early on as a potential target, particularly in light of Obama’s troubles with white working-class voters. But the terrain in Michigan was never friendly. It has a Democratic governor, and Republican strategists said the state’s poor economy and McCain’s association with the unpopular President Bush proved too much for the GOP nominee to overcome.
Those problems, they said, became more acute for McCain in Michigan following the Wall Street collapse.
That doesn’t bode well for a Republican trying maneuver in an increasingly difficult political environment.
The move came as McCain struggles to gain traction with the financial crisis consuming the presidential campaign and commanding voters’ attention. Polls nationally and in key states show the Democratic nominee with a lead, one that some McCain backers fear and Obama supporters hope may hold.
One GOP official said McCain’s campaign made the decision to pull out of Michigan on Wednesday night, and conveyed the orders to staffers midday Thursday.
Judging from the RealClearPolitcs average of Michigan polls, McCain is making the right move. They’ve moved back to being pretty solidly blue. Other states such as Virginia and Florida are probably more important with regard to their swing status this year.
Video report from Fox News:
Apparently Gov. Sarah Palin does not agree with the decision to withdraw campaign resources from Michigan.
Report from Politico:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Friday that she disagrees with the John McCain campaign’s decision to pull staff and resources out of Michigan.
“I want to get back to Michigan, and I want to try,” Palin said in an interview on Fox News. “Todd and I, we’d be happy to get to Michigan. We’d be so happy to speak to the people there in Michigan who are hurting.”
The McCain campaign confirmed yesterday that it will be moving resources out of Michigan to more favorable terrain in Pennsylvania and Maine.
The Alaska governor first heard the news this morning and fired off a quick e-mail to campaign officials expressing her displeasure with the move.
“Oh c’mon, do we have to?” Palin said she wrote.
The campaign says it will remain “well funded” and “aggressive” through Election Day in target states. During a conference call with reporters following the Michigan move, the campaign said it will focus on Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Hampshire and New Mexico.
I think Palin could benefit the McCain campaign in Michigan considering her family’s blue-collar background. Then again, Michigan is a long shot and resources are probably better spent keeping red states red instead of trying to turn a historically blue state.
This is similar to Obama’s decision in withdrawing resources from Georgia back on September 10th after hopes to turn a red state seemed to fade. You can check that from NBC Augusta.