Election focus shifts to Michigan, Nevada, S.C.

With a combined seven newspapers and one TV station in those three key battleground states, Gannett is now well-positioned to be a bigger presidential campaign player in the crucial weeks ahead.

Michigan is a battleground for Republicans regrouping after New Hampshire’s surprise upsets. “This race is about Michigan right now,” Kevin Madden, a Mitt Romney spokesman, tells The New York Times today. The state’s weak economy will be a major issue in Tuesday’s primary. Gannett’s five Michigan papers are led by the Detroit Free Press. GCI also owns WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids. The Free Press says GOP candidates “would do well to keep one fact in mind: Michigan has as many unemployed job seekers as Republicans had voters in Iowa and New Hampshire combined.”

For Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, the immediate focus are the Jan. 19 Nevada caucuses. They’re shaping up as the “head-to-head test of the strength of both these candidates,” the NYT says. The Reno Gazette-Journal said today that mining and the residential foreclosure crisis will play big roles in the caucuses.

And in South Carolina, Gannett’s Greenville News says GOP candidates “still standing after two bruising contests began assembling at Myrtle Beach to prepare for tonight’s nationally televised debate, a scene-setter for the state’s Jan. 19 primary.” The News has loads of video on the candidates, too. “South Carolina is going to be a turning point in this nomination process,” Republican candidate Mike Huckabee of Arkansas says, according to today’s Washington Post.

[Image: this morning’s Free Press, Newseum]

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