Battleground: an interactive map
No matter who wins in November, one thing is certain: the West has arrived.
No matter who wins in November, one thing is certain about this year's election: the Interior West has finally arrived. For the last 40 years, campaigns generally flew right over the eight states in the interior. Their sparse populations, relative handful of electoral votes and status as Repubican strongholds meant they just weren't worth fighting over. But the balance has shifted. Democrats now sit in the governor's mansion in six interior states and are making inroads into state legislatures. Key Senate and House seats have gone from red to blue. Suddenly, all eyes are on Western states: Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado are all considered up for grabs. Some polls even call Republican candidate John McCain's home state of Arizona a toss-up, and spoilers could give Montana to Democratic candidate Barack Obama. The Democrats held their convention in Denver, and both candidates have visited towns that haven't seen a major party candidate for decades. All told, they've paid more than 100 visits to the Interior West so far this campaign.
Here are some of the dynamics of the national and state-level races. For more analysis and information on ballot initiatives, click here.