"I want, I want, I want ... but that's crazy"

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What's the big deal about Ohio?

Do you ever wonder why it is you hear about Ohio so much every four years? (Especially noting that it remains almost completely unnoticed at any other time)
I live in Ohio - or as it has become known in the press "the battleground state of Ohio." We've been getting so much attention around here that BOTH presidential candidates are here in my state today trying to sway the maximum possible number of voters to their side.
Ohio is known as the "Mother of Presidents," because seven men who would go on to become president were born here in Ohio - including three in a row, a feat matched only by Virginia (the third through fifth presidents). Presidents Grant, Hayes and Garfield were born in Ohio and served consecutively. Presidents Benjamin Harrison, McKinley, Taft and Harding also were born in Ohio.
Another reason, though, that Ohio could be called the mother of presidents is that, traditionally, "as Ohio goes, so goes the nation." Ohio's results have correctly predicted the winner of the last 11 presidential elections. And other than 1960, Ohio has called every election since 1856. No Republican has ever won the White House without taking Ohio.
One of the main reasons that Ohio is such a "swing state" is its distribution of population. It is truly a microcosm of nearly the entire nation. There are major urban centers in Ohio - primarily Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus. There are also heavy industrial areas, including Akron, Youngstown, Toledo and Cleveland. We've even got a major military base here, in Dayton - Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (home of the world famous Dayton Peace Accords and named, in part, for the inventors of the airplane, native sons Orville and Wilbur Wright). But geographically, the vast majority of the state consists of rural areas - that means agriculture as well as manufacturing. The urban centers nearly always go Democratic. The real battleground in Ohio is in the industrial and rural areas. That makes it a county-by-county fight for candidates, and we've got 88 counties. Our 20 electoral votes are much-coveted and hard-earned.

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