Swing State, Swing County: Biggest of Ohio’s `Obama-Bush’ Counties

A sign greets Mitt Romney at a campaign rally at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, on September 14th.

Few if any states are as critical to Mitt Romney’s campaign as Ohio, which has sided with every Republican presidential candidate who’s been successful in the general election.

And the Republican presidential nominee traveled to a swing county within that swing state today.

Romney held a rally this afternoon in Painesville, the biggest city in Lake County northeast of Cleveland.

Among Ohio’s 88 counties, Lake is one of just six that voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 after backing Republican George W. Bush’s re-election four years earlier.

Lake backed Obama over Republican Sen. John McCain by 49.6 percent to 48.7 percent. Obama carried Ohio by 51.5 percent to 46.9 percent.

In 2004, when an incumbent president last sought re-election, Republican George W. Bush won Lake by 51.1 percent to 48.5 percent over Democratic Sen. John Kerry, making it the “Obama-Bush” county that came closest to matching Bush’s Ohio win of 50.8 percent to 48.7 percent.

Lake is the second-biggest of the “Obama-Bush” Ohio counties, behind only Hamilton County in and around Cincinnati, where Obama will campaign on Sept. 17.

Lake was profiled by Bloomberg this week in a series, “Bellwethers: A 50-County Election,” that examines key counties in the Nov. 6 election.

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