I just spoke to some McCain campaign sources up in Minnesota and they pretty much confirmed what the polls have been telling us for a while — Minnesota really is in play for McCain. Of course, you could simply dismiss that as McCain spin, but even Obama surrogate Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius acknowledged today on the stump in Iowa that the state was awfully close.
Still, my McCain sources made some interesting observations about what’s they’re seeing in Minnesota:
- McCain has been surprisingly strong in the urban Twin Cities area. They think the convention presence was a big help.
- It’s tied up in the Minnesota’s “Iron Range” — the seven counties that make up the Northeastern part of the state. Traditionally, it’s big Democratic-Farmer-Labor territory so it’s surprising to see McCain doing so well there. There’s a lot of sportsmen up there and they think gun issues are hurting Obama.
- Those working for McCain on the ground in the state say that the momentum swing toward McCain began in earnest prior to the Palin pick. Timing wise, they trace it back to his strong performance at the Saddleback forum.
- Minnesota and the upper Midwest tend to have extremely high voter turnout across the board so they think any unforeseen increase there in the youth vote for Obama will prove negligible.
- McCain’s Minnesota folks say they’re already starting to see the national press pay more attention to the state. Seems to be a fresh angle as everybody is tired of visiting and talking about the same battleground states. Expect to hear a lot more about the state as the election nears.