Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Obama making serious play for Montana

In a note that should make Sen. McCain's campaign sit up and take notice, Sen. Obama appointed a high-profile campaign director for Montana and a number of other states that have recently been Republican strongholds in the Presidential election.

Granted, it is possible that Obama simply has money to burn, and is willing to expend it in ways that make the McCain campaign work for states that they should be able to take for granted.

And Obama's campaign seems to be showing the important insight that there are benefits to ones party of running stronger than expected even in states one is destined to lose. Parties in states that have long been ignored are going to get some attention, and may make gains in down-ticket races due to Obama putting resources into those states.

Will the McCain campaign and the RNC answer in kind in Montana, or will they make the mistake of ignoring Montana Republicans in an hour of great need? We shall see, but suffice it to say that if the McCain campaign and the national Republican Party don't expend some resources in Montana, not only will McCain run the risk of losing the state in the fall (or have to expend precious last-minute resources to stave off an Obama surge,) but Montana Republicans could lose in what should otherwise be a very competitive year for regaining control of the state Senate and winning down-ticket races like Tim Fox's race for AG or Duane Grime's bid for State Auditor.

Few Republicans seem to be holding their breath, expecting that any help is coming from the national party. Instead, there seems to be the knowledge that we are on our own, and a determination that Montana can be successful in the fall elections with only ourselves to depend on -- and our own Congressman Denny Rehberg seems to understand this better than anyone. Which isn't an entirely bad thing at all. If there isn't any help coming, the sooner one realizes it, but more prepared one is to defend oneself.

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