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Purple People Watch

Iowa. In true swing-state fashion, the poll numbers aren't budging a bit. The latest KCCI-TV poll once again shows Kerry in the lead, but by a slightly thinner margin (five points) than respondents had granted him three weeks before. But who cares about polls on Kerry and Bush? (Oh, not us, certainly.) Iowans still can't get enough of the speculation that their governor, Tom Vilsack, might soon become Kerry's vice-presidential running mate. In the same KCCI poll, Iowans were asked about the Vilsack option; only 56 percent recommended him. A solid 32 percent said no and 12 percent weren't sure. If one-third of Iowans don't even want him, what's the point? The Des Moines Register brings us more Vilsack dish, reporting that the guv is gaining support among Democratic big wigs like Al From. But, in another article, the paper delivers a stunning blow to Vilsack's veep campaign: politically active Democratic voters in Wisconsin generally have no idea who Vilsack is. And as we all know, as...

Purple People Watch

Arizona. There's one word niggling at the minds of Arizona Democrats, and that word is "Nader." At 3 P.M. on Wednesday, June 9, the Nader for President campaign filed 22,056 signatures with the Arizona Secretary of State in order to get the independent candidate and former consumer advocate on the Arizona ballot for November. The Arizona Democratic Party, newly reinvigorated under the leadership of real estate developer Jim Pederson, who has led the party since 2001 and helped a Democratic governor win in the Republican-leaning state in 2002, plans to challenge the signatures, says one party insider, and to do so much more aggressively than was done in 2000. "We have become increasingly suspicious of the way the signatures have been gathered," says a state Democratic operative, "based on what we believe were Republican contributions to the signature gathering which could amount to an illegal campaign contribution if not reported. We are suspicious of how many of these were gathered by...

Purple People Watch

Minnesota. John Kerry will head here on Friday to unveil a new nationwide network of military veterans who support his presidential bid. The stop in the Gopher State is part of an 11-day trip to beef up Kerry's national-security platform, and it will include intensive voter outreach in the veteran-heavy battleground states of Michigan, Florida, and Pennsylvania, among others. In Minnesota, Kerry will hitch his wagon to the honored legacy of the late Senator Paul Wellstone, who used his position on the Veterans' Affairs Committee to push for increases in veterans' benefits. His visit coincides with the release of a new feel-good ad that will air here, as well as in the media markets of 18 other key swing states this week. Let's hope it works. Al Gore took Minnesota's 10 electoral votes by a narrow margin of 2 percent in 2000. Mirroring the rest of the nation, a recent poll showed Kerry and George W. Bush in a near dead heat in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The poll, conducted for the St...

Purple People Watch

Iowa . The state that propelled John Kerry into front-runner status is sticking with its man, at least according to the first post-primary-season poll conducted by The Des Moines Register . The poll reports that 49 percent of likely Iowa voters prefer Kerry, while 42 percent say they'll vote for George W. Bush. That's good news for Kerry, considering that Al Gore won Iowa in 2000 by one-half of a percentage point. But most of the political buzz this week in Iowa surrounds Governor Tom Vilsack and his place on Kerry's vice-presidential short list. Appearing at his sixth Kerry campaign event in weeks, Vilsack -- who is also serving as the Democratic National Convention's platform committee chairman this year -- has become a one-issue attack dog, rapping the president on rising gas costs over and over again. He's become so vocal, in fact, that the Bush-Cheney campaign attacked back in The Des Moines Register last week, accusing Vilsack of distorting Bush's record for political gains...

Purple People Watch

ARIZONA. This desert state has been won by a Democratic president only once since 1948 (Bill Clinton in 1996), but the success of statewide Democratic candidates in 2002 and the strong leadership of popular Governor Janet Napolitano has made some optimistic that John Kerry may have a shot at flipping this red state to blue come November. Right now, Kerry and George W. Bush are about even here. A Behavior Research Center, Inc. "Rocky Mountain Poll" conducted between April 29 and May 4 found a higher percentage of Arizona respondents -- 36 percent -- saying Bush is doing a “poor” or “very poor” job than at any other point in his presidency. A statewide poll by KAET-TV and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, taken from April 23 to 26, found Bush and Kerry running 41 percent to 38 percent, with Bush holding a statistically insignificant lead and a substantial portion -- 18 percent -- of voters undecided. That undecided number may be...

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