After having largely ignored Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes for months, Republicans are suddenly poised to take it quite seriously. Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan will be in Harrisburg on Saturday, and he'll be followed by Mitt Romney a day later.
With signs of the presidential race tightening in Pennsylvania, a state long considered out of his reach, Mitt Romney is planning a last-minute visit to the state.
The Romney campaign confirmed on Thursday that the Republican nominee would hold a rally on Sunday, most likely in the Philadelphia area, but it did not have a location set. The visit was first reported by The Daily.
Earlier this week, the campaign and a pro-Romney "super PAC" made an advertising push into Pennsylvania, a state that has been considered strong for President Obama.
Now, it's certainly possible that the Republican campaign is looking to "expand the map," and sees an opportunity in the Keystone State worth pursuing. It's more likely, though, that Team Romney is discouraged by its standing in Ohio, and is scrambling to find an alternative route to 270 electoral votes.
Regardless, as this strategy unfolds, keep a few things in mind. First, according Real Clear Politics' round-up of poll results, there have been 24 statewide polls in Pennsylvania since Aug. 1. Of these surveys, how many have shown President Obama leading Romney? All 24.
Second, while two in-person appearances certainly can't hurt, Romney/Ryan hasn't made a serious effort in Pennsylvania this year, and therefore has no meaningful campaign infrastructure in place (GOTV operation, field offices, etc.). Last-minute ads and rallies don't change that.
And finally, there's recent history to consider: we've seen this play before.
In 2008, John McCain visited Pennsylvania the Sunday before the election, but Obama won the state.
In 2004, George W. Bush visited Pennsylvania the day before the election, but John Kerry won the state.
In 1996, Bob Dole visited Pennsylvania the Friday before the election, but Bill Clinton won the state.
In 1992, George H.W. Bush visited Pennsylvania the day of the election, but Bill Clinton won the state.
I'm noticing a pattern here.