McCain maps the battlegrounds


The conventions have come and gone, and it is still looking like a wider map is in play for the 2008 presidential race than in either of the last two elections. The campaign of John McCain (R-AZ) just put a spotlight on where it sees the battle being waged, fingering swing states by taking out advertising in them. The states it included in its latest buy include several carried by George W. Bush in 2004: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. There are also five states in the buy that went for John Kerry: Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to a New York Times report.

Meanwhile, CQ Politics took a sounding on the battle for Congress. It’s currently projecting that Democrats will improve their standing in the Senate to 56 seats – better than the current 51-49 edge enabled by a pair of independents who caucus there, but short of the 60 votes needed to turn back a Republican filibuster. And speaking of the independents, Bernie Sanders (I-VT) likely isn’t going anywhere, but it remains to be seen what will become of Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who angered many Democrats by speechifying at the RNC and has a committee chair at stake.

CQ says Democrats in the House look like they have a one-seat gain in the bag as things stand now, going from 235 to 236 seats. Republicans hold 199, but are on defense in most of the 16 seats currently rated as up for grabs. CQ expects they will have a difficult time running the board and minimizing losses. 41 other districts currently lean toward one party or the other and another 34 present longshot opportunities to grab a seat.

RBR/TVBR observation: Things will happen fast from here on in, and national money held by various committees in Washington will be committed as golden opportunities to win a seat present themselves, just as the cash will flow when there is dire need to mount a strong defense. If you are in a particularly hot spot, you stand to benefit from the political windfall. It will be important to make sure that the clients you rely for normal business do not feel left out.