Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Presidential Election

October 31, 2012

Romney, GOP suddenly plunging onto Democratic turf

(Continued)

Beyond the candidates' pause from feverish campaigning, the impact of the storm on the election wasn't all that clear.

National polls show an even race for the popular vote, though Obama appears to have both an edge in key battleground states in the electoral vote hunt and more state-by-state pathways to reach the 270-vote threshold.

Of the nine states where the two men have spent more than $1 billion in advertising since June, Romney is in the strongest position in North Carolina. But public and internal campaign polls show he's locked in stubbornly tight battles in Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada and Virginia and is fighting to overtake Obama's advantage in crucial Ohio as well as Iowa and Wisconsin.

That said, Romney still could win. Anything can happen in the race's closing days — including Democratic-leaning states like Minnesota, Pennsylvania or Michigan going Republican.

Clinton's Minnesota visit came just days after Romney and his allies started airing TV ads in the state. GOP-leaning groups including Americans for Job Security and American Future Fund were spending $615,000 this week. Romney spent a much lighter $29,000 last week, and it was unclear how much his campaign was spending this week. All together, the efforts led Obama to follow suit to prevent the state from slipping out of his grasp. His campaign was spending $210,000 on ads in Minnesota this week.

Polls show Romney having gained ground in Minnesota though still trailing Obama. And Obama has a much larger campaign footprint of paid staff and volunteers, including more than 30 full-time workers and 12 offices. Romney never has established much of campaign organization in Minnesota.

In Pennsylvania, Romney's campaign started pouring money into TV ads Monday for the first time, though Republican-leaning groups have been on the air in recent days trying to narrow the Obama advantage indicated by surveys. Republican groups - American Crossroads, Restore Our Future and Americans for Job Security - are spending at least $3.9 million this week. That does not include spending by Romney's campaign. Obama aides said the president's campaign is spending $625,000.

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Presidential Election