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Locals Prep For Presidential Debates

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MEDFORD, Ore. – With just over a month left until Election Day neither candidate has made a stop to campaign in Southern Oregon, which is a big change from just 8 years ago, when both President Bush and Senator Kerry as well as vice President Cheney and Senator Edwards all made stops in the Rogue Valley.

The local chapters of the Republicans and Democrats were making final preparations for Wednesday night’s debate and while they can’t agree on much, they both agree that the candidates are focusing their efforts to the key swing states.

8 years ago the Rogue Valley was a prime campaign stop for both the Republicans and Democrats as Air Force One touched down at the Medford Airport and President Bush spoke at the Jackson County Expo. Today, there is a much emptier scene at the Expo, as neither presidential candidate has made his way to the Rogue Valley.

Jan Waitt of the Jackson County Democrats says Oregon just isn’t as contested as some of the other swing states.

“They’re not taking Oregon for granted really, it’s just not a battle ground state,” Waitt states.

Robert Olsson of the Jackson County Republicans thinks Oregon has a shot to turn red, but still agrees that the candidates are focusing more on the battle ground states.

“The race is demonstratively so close now that the swing states really count big time. So all of the effort, all of the money for signs, brochures and TV advertising is concentrated on these 7 to 9 swing states,” said Olsson.

While some candidates have made a stop in Portland, Waitt thinks they were trying to hit the bulk of the Oregon vote.

“Some is just demographics of where the vote is,” Waitt said. “Two-thirds of the Democratic vote is up in the Northwest.”

Olsson thinks, despite no local stop from Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan, the excitement for this year’s election is as strong as ever.

“The enthusiasm is unbounded as far as Republicans are concerned in this area, I can tell you that,” Olsson stated.

There will be 2 more presidential debates and 1 vice presidential debate before the November 6th election.