The Associated Press reports that the Romney campaign is buying television advertisements in Minnesota, a state where neither presidential campaign has purchased TV ads before. So what’s Romney’s move? Is it a bluff? A genuine late play at a state that hasn’t voted for a Republican since 1972? Here are three possible explanations:
The western sliver of Wisconsin is in the Minneapolis and Duluth media markets, so airing a limited number of advertisements in Minnesota might just be aimed at covering a wider swath of the Badger State. Obama performed poorly in Wisconsin’s Minnesota media-market counties four years ago, in part because McCain actually outspent Obama on television advertisements in Minnesota. The Romney campaign could really use Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes, and they were already out-advertising Obama by greater than a 2-to-1 margin in Wisconsin’s two outlying media markets, so their strategy appears to involve persuading voters in the western half of the state.
Perhaps the Romney campaign is spending in Minnesota to make it seem like they’re on offense, expanding the map, or whatever other clichés that might make their way into Politico articles. The Associated Press article suggests as much, and it's not hard to see why the Romney campaign might want to build a better media narrative.