I hear you already. "Montana? A whopping 3 electoral votes? Almost 100% red since the 60's?"
Look under the surface.
If you only look at presidential races, this is what you would see:
- Gore loses Montana by 25 points in 2000 (man, those 3 little EVs would have been nice)
- Kerry loses Montana by 21 points in 2004 (while electing a Democratic governor)
- Obama loses Montana by only 2.2 points in 2008 (of course turnout is way up, but it shows that the support is there to be tapped. Re-elected a Democratic governor)
2012 may still be a longshot for Obama in Montana, but high-level Democratic dollars in the state is a winning investment, even if Obama loses those 3 EVs.
Exhibit A: Senator Jon Tester is in a reelection fight against the current (and only) Representative, Republican Denny Rehberg.
Exhibit B: Rehberg's House seat is an open race, and the boon for Democratic candidate Kim Gillian could lead to a House seat pickup.
Exhibit C: Governor Brian Schweitzer, a two-term but term-limited Democrat, remains popular, and the money can help to elect Steve Bullock as his successor.
Exhibit D: All of these successful state-level Democrats can then increase the numbers for Obama.
Exhibit E: Due to the state's low population, It would take less money to produce big returns on the investment. A million bucks is a drop in the bucket for a state like Ohio, and it barely moves the polls there. A million bucks in Montana could produce a big swing in votes.
For a Senate hold, a House pickup, a gubernatorial hold, and an outside chance to steal 3 red electoral votes, the DNC and the Obama campaign should divert at least some of their 2012 cash toward Big Sky Country.
Discussion welcome, especially from those within the state or tied to it; as I am viewing this from an outsider's perspective.