Today, News Cut begins the “battleground watch.” Are we — Minnesota — and you, too, western Wisconsin — as important as we were in 2004? We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. As MPR’s Than Tibbets’ graphic (which we’ll be be updating) shows, 2004 was a banner year for candidate visits. Twenty-five times, a presidential or vice presidential candidate made appearances in the region.
John McCain’s visit to Hudson, Wisc., on Friday will be the third campaign visit by either McCain or Barack Obama, slightly behind the 2004 pace. By mid-July in 2004, John Kerry had visited three times; President Bush had visited twice. (MPR News Director Bill Wareham points out that a spot for Tim Pawlenty on the McCain ticket could skew the ’08 numbers.)
Hudson also provided the backdrop for a Republican candidate visit in 2004 when President Bush campaigned there in August. It paid off. Hudson backed the Bush/Cheney ticket 54-to-45 percent over the Kerry/Edwards team, while the rest of the state went Democrat by a very slim margin.
In Wisconsin’s presidential preference primary in February 2008, Democrats outdrew Republicans in Hudson 998-579. McCain was an easy winner over Mike Huckabee.
By the way, be sure to listen to Tom Scheck’s interview with Sen. McCain (RealAudio)