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.
This is kind of a shock. But once McCain decided to make this election about base turnout, he was necessarily gonna have to cede his wobbly standing as some kind of unifying centrist.
But wow, what a difference a few weeks makes. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but this went from frustratingly close to looking like it could be a possible blowout. Obama is pulling away in Pennsylvania and is seriously reaching into McCain’s pocket in states that never go blue — namely, Virginia and Colorado (to say nothing of North Carolina.) And McCain still has to defend Ohio; Nate at FiveThirtyEight* gives him a 2 percent chance of winning the election if he drops the Buckeye State.
Update: The AJC is reporting that almost 40 percent of the early Georgia voting iis from black voters. It might be too late in the game to really put Georgia in play, but not too late to force McCain to play defense there.