Kerry drives south

By Eric Boehlert

Published May 21, 2004 3:11PM (EDT)

Lots of chatter today about Kerry's improving electoral prospects across the South, a region that, just a few months ago, some pundits were suggesting he simply write off. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, "a $25 million television ad campaign Kerry launched two weeks ago included Louisiana, Arkansas and Florida, and a recent poll suggested North Carolina could be competitive if onetime Kerry rival John Edwards joins the ticket as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee." Knight Ridder examines "the surge of newcomers to Arizona and the Southwest that's turning once solid Republican turf into a competitive political battleground." The paper reports, "Polls show the two major candidates statistically tied, suggesting that Kerry could win." Since 1948, only one Democratic presidential candidate -- Bill Clinton in 1996 -- has won the state. Al Gore lost there by just six points, despite the fact he never campaigned one day in Arizona. There's similar optimism for Democrats in Louisiana, according to the Associated Press: "The Kerry campaign has unexpectedly put conservative-leaning Louisiana in play and Bush's re-election campaign is responding in kind. The state is one of 19 targeted by Kerry with a $25 million TV advertising buy, and he has visited three times in the past two months. Bush has responded with advertising, too."

Eric Boehlert

Eric Boehlert, a former senior writer for Salon, is the author of "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush."

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