Shifting political battleground map


If Barack Obama (D-IL) can hold on to the states carried by John Kerry (D-MA) he’d obviously still have a ways to go to make it into the White House. That’s why his spirited effort to keep seven states that voted for George W. Bush (R-TX) in 2004 away from his current rival, John McCain (R-AZ) is so important.

It may not matter who wins the states, either, if it forces Republicans to expend significant capital to defend the territory and weakens efforts to hold or contest the larger battleground states of 2004, particularly Ohio, Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The seven states include Alaska, Georgia, Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota and Virginia. The states offer different attractions for Obama’s campaign. In some cases, demographics are shifting in a favorable direction; others have large African American populations; there’s Indiana, a neighbor to Obama’s home state; and then there’s North Dakota, which regularly sends Democrats to Congress but has tended to go for the Republican candidate in White House contests.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is offering extra help to six additional candidates, some in the same states as those mentioned above. According to Congressional Quarterly, the races include Don Cravins (D) contest with incumbent Charles Boustany Jr. (R) in LA-7; Jill Derby (D) v. Dean Heller (R) in NV-2; Victoria Wulsin’s (D) run at Jean Schmidt (R) in OH-2; Kathy Dahlkemper (D) v. Phil English (R) in PA-3; Tom Perriello (D) against Virgil H. Goode Jr. (R) in VA-5; and Judy Feder’s (D) second attempts at Frank R. Wolf (R) in VA-10.