Iowans already know the global attention our first-in-the-nation caucuses draw, but two other neighboring states are sharing in the spotlight this presidential election year. Larry Jacobs, head of the University of Minnesota’s 2004 Elections Project, says Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin are carrying a lot of political muscle — much more than usual.Jacobs says “Those three states have the same electoral college votes as Florida. In many ways, the election is going to pivot on what happens up here.” Jacobs says that electoral power coupled with a fairly even political split across the region means the focus is going to be on our three states this year, more than any other year.The Upper Midwest is going to be a battleground region, he says, adding, “The attention that Iowa got and then the attention coming up in Wisconsin as really a make-or-break state for some of the candidates, really underlines what we’re going to be seeing over the next eight months.” The Wisconsin primary is Tuesday. Minnesota’s non-binding presidential straw poll is March second during caucuses. Iowa’s caucuses were January 19th.
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