Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Democrats think Ohio's governor could woo swing state's crucial rural voters in 2008

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, left, is one of the most popular executives in the country, and his fellow Democrats are hoping that popularity could help in the 2008 presidential election, especially when it comes to the state's rural voters, who gave pivotal support to President Bush in his two elections.

Strickland, the state's first Democratic governor since 1989, and a former congressman for rural southeast Ohio, took office by winning over many of those voters in 2006, but experts are uncertain he could help a Democratic nominee do the same next year as the nominee for vice president, reports The Chicago Tribune.

"Strickland's former campaign strategists estimate he earned the votes of some 560,000 Ohioans who voted for Bush in 2004," Jim Tankersley writes from Columbus. "A swing of 60,000 votes from Bush to Kerry would have pushed the state and the White House into Democratic hands. So everything else being equal, the Strickland strategists estimate, all the 2008 Democratic nominee has to do is hold onto 1 in 9 voters who went for Bush and Strickland."

Republican strategists say that won't be easy, since the Democratic candidates are not like Strickland. But Strickland and other state Democrats say that to win non-urban voters, the nominee should follow the governor's style, which Strickland told Tankersley means avoiding "divisive" issues and partisan "name-calling." (Read more)

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