By Jenn Abelson, Globe Staff
Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards today kicked off his "True Blue Majority" campaign aimed at showing the country that he has the best chance of defeating the Republican candidate in the 2008 general election -- even in the red, GOP-friendly states.
Today, elected leaders and labor leaders in Georgia, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin will hold events and conference calls to discuss their reasons for supporting Edwards.
"We need a leader who can compete anywhere in America, and win," former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes said in a statement provided by the Edwards campaign. "Some pundits say that a Democrat can't win in some places in the South, Midwest or West. But they're wrong. The right Democratic presidential nominee –- one who shares our values, understands our issues and offers real and bold solutions –- can win these states. That candidate is John Edwards."
Tomorrow, Democratic legislative supporters from red states and battleground states will hold a conference call to discuss how Edwards' name on the top of the ticket will benefit state and local Democratic candidates.
The campaign also released an analysis from its pollster Harrison Hickman: Edwards, he says, is the only Democrat with a significant lead against Republican front-runner Rudy Guiliani, and his average margin of victory is identical to or greater than rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama against other Republican candidates in hypothetical matchups. Edwards also does better in the key battleground states of Iowa, Missouri, and Ohio, Hickman says.
Independent national polls released recently are divided on which of the Democrats would fare best next November against possible GOP nominees. Still, Edwards and Obama are increasingly using the electability argument against Democratic front-runner Clinton and arguing that because of the near-hatred she engenders among some Republicans, she would drag down state and local Democrats sharing the November 2008 ballot.