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Gaming Out A Hillary V. Rudy Death-match

Michael Duffy hits on the right way to think about a Hillary v. Rudy matchup in the general election:

But Rudy's electoral college argument has its share of weak spots. If he would put some blue states into play, his name on the GOP ticket also would invite some red ones onto the dance floor, too. He would have to work harder to hold border states like Tennessee (11) and Missouri (11) than Bush did against Kerry and could hardly take Arkansas (11) for granted, assuming Clinton parks her husband there for a few days in October (That prospect alone is reason for keeping an eye on Mike Huckabee in the GOP veepstakes). Meanwhile, Iowa (7) and New Mexico (5), which turned narrowly red in 2004, could for all kinds of reasons just as easily turn back in 2008.

That's the great variable here: Would Rudy be more likely to pick off a state like Pennsylvania or New Jersey than he would be to lose a state like Tennessee, Missouri, or Arkansas? A few months ago I would have said no: Pennsylvania and New Jersey are pretty solid Democratic states, and Rudy is far too "New York City" to make the South anything close to a lock for him. That may still be the case. But, given the strength he's shown among what I thought would be hostile segments of the GOP, I'm not so sure any more.

 --Noam Scheiber