Last night, I was subjected to three John Kerry ads (all the same one) while I innocently watched a baseball game. I almost never see presidential campaign ads because the three jurisdictions in this media market — Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia — are never closely contested. The Kerry ad can be viewed as an indication that his campaign believes Virginia may be closely contested this year.
Or it may be attempt by the Democrats to fool Republicans into thinking they can win Virginia, while reaching some West Virginia voters. That is the thesis of David Shribman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Shribman thinks that the Democrats are throwing a feint in Virginia, just as the Republicans are doing in Pennsylvania. The real focus, he argues, is on West Virginia and Ohio.
Personally, I agree that Kerry has no realistic chance of winning Virginia. I’m less sure that Bush has no chance in Pennsylvania, but it may be true that for Bush to win that state he would have to be sufficiently popular nationally that he wouldn’t need Pennsylvania in his win column.