Increasingly erratic McCain campaign suspending its operation in Michigan

For months, both campaigns have been trying to figure out which states are in play for them. We’ve been hearing repeatedly that McCain was going to pour resources into Michigan and Pennsylvania, which have been voting Democratic in the past elections. Not anymore. Today, Jonathan Martin is reporting that the McCain campaign is leaving Michigan and its 17 electoral votes:

John McCain is pulling out of Michigan, according to two Republicans, a stunning move a month away from Election Day that indicates the difficulty Republicans are having in finding blue states to put in play.

McCain will go off TV in Michigan, stop dropping mail there and send most of his staff to more competitive states, including Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida. Wisconsin went for Kerry in 2004, Ohio and Florida for Bush.

McCain’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Republicans had been bullish on Michigan, hopeful that McCain’s past success in the state in the 2000 primary combined with voter dissatisfaction with Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm and skepticism among blue-collar voters about Barack Obama could make it competitive.

Very bad news for the GOP. This is a major development in the campaign — and a major concession by the McCain campaign, if it’s true. Remember, last week, John McCain “suspended” his campaign and wanted to cancel the first debate. Seems like no one is really in charge at McCain HQ. Like the candidate, that campaign seems to be extremely erratic and dysfunctional.

So, today, McCain might be pulling out of Michigan. Tomorrow, it might be his number one state.

Let’s briefly review the situation: Obama is encroaching into McCain’s turf in states like Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia and North Carolina. Obama is ahead in Iowa and New Mexico, two states where Gore won but Kerry lost. Pennsylvania has been shoring up nicely for Obama of late. Florida and Ohio have been trending his way. Okay, Obama did pull out of North Dakota, but I’ll trade North Dakota for Michigan this year.

The reality for McCain, not that he deals in reality, is that he needs to use his limited resources to defend states that have traditionally voted Republican. Remember, McCain opted into the public financing system for the general election. (Also remember, he scammed that system during the primaries.) The McCain/Palin campaign got a check from the government for $84 million and that’s all they can legally spend. Obama opted out of the public financing system and is not subject to any spending limits. With the help of George Bush, however, the RNC (the Republican Party headquarters in Washington, DC) has raised a boat load to complement McCain’s efforts. Even with that help, it’s starting to look like McCain can’t afford to fight for blue states.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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