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McCain to Announce Veep in Ohio « The Washington Independent

Politico’s Mike Allen appears to confirm what many already suspected — Sen. John McCain will announce his running mate Aug. 29 — the day after the Democratic National Convention ends, as well as McCain’s birthday — in Dayton, Ohio. According to Allen, the McCain campaign hopes to hold a large rally of up to 10,000 people for the announcement in Dayton, with another appearance with the vice presidential pick in Pennsylvania following soon after. From Politico:

Senior Republicans are in the dark about who he’ll name, although they say former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty are prime contenders after a trial balloon by McCain gave him very negative feedback about the idea of picking an abortion-rights running mate such as Tom Ridge, the former governor of Pennsylvania and the first secretary of homeland security.

Sources close to McCain say he has wrestled with the choice, torn between a high-stakes, high-reward pick like Ridge or Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman — the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000 — or a safer and more conventional selection such as Romney or Pawlenty…

The announcement strategy — provided McCain doesn’t change it — calls for naming the pick early Friday morning to try to suppress Obama’s bounce coming out of his convention.

Hamilton County [Ohio] GOP Chairman Alex Triantafilou tipped off observers about the impending rally with a weekend blog post that said "Sen. McCain is expected to host a rally on August 29 in Dayton and is looking for a BIG venue and for a BIG crowd. He’ll get it. This is not yet public. I guess I just made it so." That information was subsequently removed.

With the Ohio rally, the McCain is clearly hoping to shore up support in the state. FiveThirtyEight.com, the electoral handicapping Website, changed the state’s status yesterday — from slightly favoring Sen. Barack Obama’s to slightly favoring McCain — in the wake of a new statewide poll that found Obama’s eight-percentage point lead has evaporated. A Public Policy Polling survey [PDF] found Obama and McCain are now in a dead heat in Ohio with 45 points each. This change also puts McCain slightly ahead in the Website’s electoral vote projection. From FiveThirtyEight.com:

With Ohio now trailing behind Obama’s numbers nationally — we regard Obama as a 1.0-point favorite in the national popular vote, but McCain an 0.6-point favorite in Ohio — McCain now rates as slightly more likely to win the electoral college than the popular vote, a reversal of the trend apparent for most of the past couple of months.

Of course, the obvious problem with projections like this is there is still more than two months until the general election, and anything can happen in that time. However, McCain also leads by 1.5 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics average for statewide polls in Ohio. If McCain can boost his numbers in the state and put it out of Obama’s reach, he may win the election. After all, Ohio is the bellwether — having picked the winner in every presidential election since 1960.

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