Midwest considered key to GOP success

Dec. 14, 2008 at 2:30 PM
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MILWAUKEE, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The Midwest holds the Republican Party's best shot at gaining electoral ground following GOP losses in 2006 and 2008, political observers say.

With a lackluster performance in the Northeast and the West, and the burgeoning Latino vote in the Southwest, the Republican Party is becoming more dependent on traditional battlegrounds of the Midwest, including Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Sunday.

"Republicans cannot allow the map to continue to shrink on them," said former Republican Minnesota congressman Vin Weber. He called the upper Midwest "critical to the Republican Party."

Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan, which have all been fiercely competitive in the recent past, have high numbers of the Republican base: blue-collar, rural and older white voters. Moreover, those states are not experiencing the pace of demographic change that is causing the party problems elsewhere, the newspaper said.

Democratic pollster Paul Maslin said unless the GOP can do better in the Midwest there aren't enough voters for the party to regain a majority in Congress or retake the White House.

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