McCain Stumps for DeWine
Arizona Sen. John McCain has traveled the country this year in support of Republican candidates (and his own presidential aspirations). But rarely has he devoted as much time to a single candidate as he will later this week in support of Sen. Mike DeWine -- one of the most endangered Republicans up for re-election this November.
McCain will spend two full days with DeWine on Sunday and Monday, raising money and campaigning with the Ohio Republican all over the state. On Sunday afternoon McCain appears at a DeWine fundraiser in Findlay, Ohio, hosted by Rep. Mike Oxley (R), who will retire at the end of his current term. On the same night the two Senators are in Aurora, Ohio for a picnic -- $1,000 per person for the VIP reception, $100 per person for the general reception.
On Monday, McCain and DeWine are in Hanoverton, Ohio for an event at the Spread Eagle Tavern and Inn ($1,000 per person for the VIP luncheon. $100 per person for the general luncheon). Come Monday night McCain and DeWine will be in Akron, Ohio -- Democratic nominee Sherrod Brown's political backyard -- to headline a Summut County party dinner.
Why so much attention?
"Mike DeWine is a good and decent man with a record on the vital issues of the day -- securing our nation and leading in the fight against terror -- which deserve re-election," said McCain political svengali John Weaver. "He is a dear friend of John McCain's, but more importantly, is a huge asset to the U.S. Senate and to the nation."
Sure, but what's the real reason?
There are at least two that we can think of.
First, DeWine was one of only four Senators (Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel and Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl were the others) to endorse McCain's presidential primary bid against George W. Bush. In politics, loyalty is everything so McCain is making sure that DeWine is rewarded for taking a risk on him six years ago. McCain also has an eye on 2008 and has already recruited Graham as well as Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott and Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith to his presidential campaign. Presumably, McCain would like DeWine to join that list.
Second, McCain could be looking forward to the 2008 general election when, if 2004 is any indication, Ohio will again be one of a handful of battlegrounds between the parties. Keeping McCain in front of Ohio voters could well pay dividends if he is able to win his party's nomination. A poll done by the Columbus Dispatch in April showed McCain leading the 2008 Republican field with support from 30 percent of those surveyed. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani had 24 percent, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took 20 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won 10 percent. No other candidate registered in double digits.
McCain's travel schedule remains tightly packed. He spent Tuesday and early Wednesday in Iowa before flying to Louisiana for a state party luncheon. Thursday and Friday he is in South Carolina, and Saturday will take him to Florida where he will campaign in Pensacola, Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville for state Attorney General Charlie Crist, who is running for governor.
All of McCain's stops have a purpose. Some -- like his visits to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina -- are patently obiovus, while others -- like his Ohio trip -- take a bit more figuring out. Watch where McCain spends his time between now and November and whether the candidates he helps reciprocate by quickly endorsing his presidential campaign either later this year or in early 2007.
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