Romney, Obama campaigns launch ads in Minn., aim for Wis. - KMSP-TV

Romney, Obama campaigns launch ads in Minn., aim for Wis.

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The campaigns for Mitt Romney and President Obama are both launching TV ads in the Twin Cities this weekend.

The PACs have been advertising in Minnesota all along, but this is the first ad buy in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market on the part of either campaign. They're not spending a lot of money, but it may be telling.

The Romney campaign may be trying to stretch the electoral map. That's because Ohio, with its 15 electoral votes, is looking awfully stubborn for Obama.

So, the campaign has begun looking at other scenarios. Stealing Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes and another 10 from Minnesota could suddenly neutralize Ohio, but it's not very likely he'll get both. A St. Cloud State University poll found Obama has a comfortable 13-point lead in Minnesota.

It may not be the easiest path for a Romney victory, especially given Minnesota's 40-year history of voting for a Democrat.

At the Obama Minnesota headquarters along Selby Avenue in St. Paul, they're fine-tuning a sophisticated DFL ground game by mobilizing 4,000 volunteers.

At a Republican Victory phone bank in Burnsville, Minn., they feel they've got  enthusiasm on their side.

Starting Saturday, it also becomes an air war, with the Romney campaign launching $30,000 worth of ads in the Twin Cities. That ad buy forced the Obama campaign into the game as well. They'll launch their own ads by early next week.


But Minnesota is likely not the end game. The real target is probably western Wisconsin, which is covered by the Twin Cities media market. It accounts for five percent of the voters in Wisconsin -- enough to make a difference.

Still, the reality is Minnesota hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since Richard Nixon in 1972. The hope for the Romney campaign is that "close" may also count.

George W. Bush lost Minnesota in 2004 by just a three point margin, and of course won the election.

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