Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain campaigned Friday in the battleground state of Florida and with plans to defend traditional GOP strongholds of North Carolina and Virginia over the weekend.
McCain addressed supporters in Melbourne, Fla., with help from independent Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman.
“Lieberman, the first Jewish candidate on a major-party ticket, still has a strong following among Jews living in Florida,” the Associated Press reported.
In the Sunshine State, the Arizona senator will appeal to senior citizens, among whom he’s been losing ground, according to a recent South Florida Sun-Sentinel poll.
Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama will follow McCain into Florida with planned appearances Monday in Tampa Bay and Orlando.
The Illinois senator spoke Friday in Roanoke, Va. — a largely conservative area. While Obama has opened an 8-point lead in the state, no Democratic presidential candidate has been victorious there since Lyndon B. Johnson 44 years ago.
The McCain campaign will make a stop Sunday in the largely Democratic Northern Virginia city of Woodbridge in the hopes of igniting a comeback, but some party leaders are worried that get-out-the-vote efforts in Virginia may not be enough to bring their candidate to victory.
“People have no idea how hard you have to work to shake the tree for every last vote,” GOP political consultant Rob Catron told the Washington Post. Many Republicans “still think, somehow, that Virginia is bulletproof when it comes to presidential elections,” he said.
McCain will follow running mate Gov. Sarah Palin’s Thursday appearance in North Carolina with a stop in Fayetteville on Sunday. Obama stumps in the Tar Heel State on Saturday in Concord.
Recent polls show the two candidates in a statistical dead heat in the state, despite the fact that North Carolina is another state that hasn’t gone to a Democrat in decades.
A new CNN analysis of the battleground states shows the six states in play with two and a half weeks to go until Election Day are Nevada, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina and Florida, all of which went to President Bush in 2004.