Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally at the Golden Lamb in Lebanon, Ohio, October 13, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)
As the presidential election race tightens, the outsize influence of the swing states grows. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Ohio.
Both candidates, their campaigns, and wads of advertising dollars have flowed into the state, and as Republican challenger Mitt Romney pulls to within striking distance of taking the state, there are no signs of the deluge abating.
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Due to the quirky math of the Electoral College, whichever candidate wins each state receives all of its votes. Most states are all but guaranteed to go for one candidate or the other, leaving nine states up for grabs: Ohio, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, New Hampshire, Nevada, Wisconsin and Iowa.
In many simulated scenarios of Election Day, Obama falls 17 electoral votes shy of winning the presidency outright, while Romney lack 35, with 50 votes still in play. While Romney could win with a combination of smaller swing states, he almost definitely needs Ohio's 18 electoral votes. For his part, Obama can either clinch the election or make things much harder for Romney by winning Ohio.
""Every campaign knows you can't win the White House without Ohio," said Mark Weaver, a Republican strategist, speaking to the Toledo Blade. "Even as our electoral strength has shrunk we're still the go-to state."
The campaigns have spent $93 million on television advertising in Ohio. Compare that to California, which has more than three times the population, but has seen no ad money from the campaigns, because it is reliably Democratic.
Since June, the Obamas and Vice President Joe Biden have visited Ohio 32 times combined. President Obama has been in the state five of the last six weeks.
The Romneys and Paul Ryan have visited 34 times, and Romney spent the last five days campaigning in the state.
While both campaigns are piling on the money, the Republicans have more to lose. No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio.
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