Hurricane Sandy: Could it change the outcome of the presidential race?
Hurricane Sandy has scrambled the last week of the presidential race, upsetting campaign schedules, putting both President Obama and Mitt Romney off-message, and raising doubts about Election Day. In a race this close, Sandy could change or at least postpone the results.
Hurricane Sandy has scrambled the last week of the presidential race, upsetting campaign schedules, putting both President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney off-message, and raising doubts about Election Day and how early voting is going.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Sandy: Chronicle of an unrelenting storm
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It’s not out of the question that the hurricane – a massive and unusual storm event forecast to rip into the Atlantic coast from the Del-Mar-Va peninsula to New England before barreling west across New York State and Pennsylvania en route to the all-important swing state of Ohio – could directly affect the outcome, changing or at least postponing the results.
Maryland already has canceled early voting Monday, per Gov. Martin O’Malley’s order Sunday. Faced with power outages that could last several days, the Virginia state elections board is planning for extended early voting hours.
Both candidates have had to adjust their last-minute campaign travel plans.
Obama canceled campaign stops Monday in Virginia and Tuesday in Colorado to monitor the storm but planned to go forward with other events Monday in Florida and Ohio, with former president Bill Clinton at his side, AP reports. Romney cut three stops in Virginia on Sunday, opting instead to campaign with running mate Paul Ryan in Ohio before heading Monday to Wisconsin, where the former Massachusetts governor has chipped away at Obama’s lead.
TV ads can have more impact than cheerleading events with the faithful; they’ll continue as long as there’s electrical power. Both sides are flush with cash in this billion-dollar campaign.
But an “October surprise” like this – particularly in a very close race where the challenger has been gaining on the incumbent – has the potential to do more damage to Obama than to Romney.
All the GOP candidate has to do is avoid the appearance that he’s taking political advantage of a potential tragedy – something he failed to do during the early hours of the terrorist attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.