Monday, September 27, 2004

St. Cloud makes the WSJ 

The Wall Street Journal runs an article datelined St. Cloud (subscribers only) describing the appearance of Minnesota as a battleground state. At least with on voters up here, the morality issue is carrying some voters towards Republican candidates.

In Minnesota, political undercurrents developing over much of the past decade give Bush allies hope. Suburban sprawl around Minneapolis and St. Paul has created a bloc of mostly middle-class voters with pocketbook concerns and far less loyalty to Minnesota's tradition of progressive public consciousness. The state's economy, with a 4.8% jobless rate, has outperformed the rest of the nation. And social issues such as abortion and gay marriage have taken on greater importance among the rural and blue-collar voters who once were bedrock Democrats.

"It's the Clinton party," says 52-year-old Linda Sorum, among more than 13,000 Republican faithful crowding St. Cloud's Dick Putz Field as Mr. Bush kicks off a bus tour. A nurse at St. Cloud Hospital, Ms. Sorum says Democrats have fallen out of step with the Minnesota she knows. She is attracted to Mr. Bush because of her opposition to abortion and her support for the war with Iraq.

"Bush has the right idea," she says. "You have to be very aggressive."

The DNC has spent nearly half a million up here for Kerry, along with the Kerry campaign's own $200,000, compared to $470,000 for Bush (and no mention of RNC spending.) The thought of some strategists seems to be that health proposals from Bush will gain traction in a state with the Mayo clinic (which is trying to drum up business) and other hospitals in some difficulty. Bush money quote in St. Cloud, according to the article:
We stand for a culture of life in which every person matters and every being counts. In changing times, we'll support the institutions that give our lives direction and purpose -- our families, our schools, our religious congregations.