Republicans lay out 2012 electoral map
As President Obama prepares to visit Northern Virginia on Wednesday, the Republican National Committee is making the case that the Commonwealth — as well as a handful of other swing states — have moved away from the incumbent over the past three years.
In a memo obtained by The Fix, RNC political director Rick Wiley notes that Virginia is one of nine states — Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa and Florida are the others — that Obama won in 2008 and President George W. Bush carried four years earlier.
“His path to re-election must go back through those states, but his prospects there are far from certain,” wrote Wiley. “In only two and a half years, his position in those states, and in many others, has deteriorated dramatically, and Republican strength is in plain view.”
As evidence of the GOP’s momentum in those states, Wiley pointed out that in the three years since Obama won them, Republicans have won a Senate seat, four governor’s races, seven state legislative chambers and 17 House seats in the nine states combined.
There’s little doubt that the nine states mentioned above will be at the heart of the fight for the presidency in 2012 and that Republicans have reason to feel good about returning them to the GOP column next November.
But a detailed look at the states also makes clear the needle that the party must thread to beat Obama.
Start with the 365 electoral votes Obama won in 2008. Subtract the 112 electoral votes these nine states represent — they amounted to the same number of electoral votes in 2008 despite seat gains and losses in four of the states in the 2010 U.S. Census — and Obama is at 253 electoral votes, beneath the 270 he would need to win a second term.
That assumes, however, that the Republican nominee can sweep all nine of the states. Some — like Indiana, for example — seem likely to return to the Republican column almost no matter who the party nominates in 2012. (Obama was the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the state since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.)
But, the Obama reelection team will fight hard almost everywhere else, and the rapid growth of the Hispanic population in places like New Mexico, Nevada and Florida — among others — could strengthen the incumbent’s hand.
And, Obama’s decision to hold the 2012 Democratic National Convention in North Carolina is evidence of his campaign’s commitment to winning that state again.
Say Obama won Florida and lost the other eight states mentioned above. He would still be reelected with 282 electoral votes. Give Ohio to Obama and the eight other states to the Republican nominee and Obama is reelected with 271 electoral votes.
Of course, Republicans will also work to make some larger states that have gone Democratic in several straight presidential elections — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin jump to mind — competitive, broadening the national playing field and giving their nominee a bit more wiggle room in the electoral college math.
Obama will seek to counter that by putting places like Arizona and Georgia — Republican states at the presidential level in recent years — in play.
It’s a chess game to get to 270 electoral votes. And both parties are already starting to move their pieces into position.
Romney: ‘Talk to my church’: Pressed repeatedly by CNN’s Piers Morgan last night, Mitt Romney continued to separate his Mormon faith from his presidential campaign.
“I’m not a spokesman for my church. And one thing I’m not going to do in running for president is become a spokesman for my church or apply a religious test that is simply forbidden by the constitution; I’m not going there,” Romney said when asked about the Mormon faith’s position on gays. “If you want to learn about my church, talk to my church.”
Morgan then asked Romney whether he personally believed homosexuality is a sin, and Romney declined to answer.
Meanwhile, Quinnipiac University released a poll this morning showing that 36 percent of people say they uncomfortable voting for a Mormon, including 17 percent who said they are “entirely uncomfortable.”
Still, Romney leads everybody in the GOP field by at least 10 points.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who will be talked up as a vice presidential pick for whoever gets the GOP nomination, says he won’t endorse anyone in the 2012 Republican presidential primary.
Outgoing White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee may assist Obama in his reelection bid.
Former congresswoman Heather Wilson’s (R-N.M.) Senate campaign names a campaign manager.
Former senator Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) pitches for the Chamber of Commerce.
Jon Huntsman will be in Washington next week for a fundraiser.
Independents and young people are moving away from Obama.
Rick Santorum says Romney isn’t the favorite for the GOP nomination.
“Judge Upholds His Ruling to Let Companies Donate to Candidates” — Brody Mullins, Wall Street Journal
“Tim Pawlenty’s dubious economic assertions” — Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post
“Rep. Anthony Weiner fights for political survival” — Karen Tumulty and Paul Kane, The Washington Post