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Edwards' campaign trail leads to UO.

Byline: David Steves The Register-Guard

The race to the White House makes yet another pit stop in Lane County on Wednesday, when vice presidential candidate John Edwards plans to visit the University of Oregon campus.

The running mate of Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry will follow visits in recent weeks from would-be first lady Teresa Heinz Kerry, Republican Vice President Dick Cheney and Kerry, who was here in August.

Even independent Ralph Nader has stopped in, with a visit to Eugene on Sunday to encourage voters to write in his name after the secretary of state ruled him ineligible for the ballot.

Tickets became available today for the event, which will be on the east lawn of the UO's Erb Memorial Union at east 13th and University streets.

The rally, which is supposed to showcase the Kerry-Edwards ticket's health care proposals, is scheduled to start at 1:45 p.m.

The Edwards visit to Eugene will be sandwiched between a late-morning town hall-style gathering in Medford and a late-afternoon event at Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Then on Thursday, President Bush will return to Oregon to campaign in Central Point, his second campaign stop here.

His Oregon visit would come a day after the third and final presidential debate, set for Wednesday night in Arizona.

Political scientist Jim Moore said a look at the polls and the map of battleground states makes it clear why both campaigns are continuing to focus on Oregon so close to the Nov. 2 election.

"It means Oregon is still in play," said Moore, a professor at Pacific University in Forest Grove.

The most recently publicized poll of Oregon voters, conducted for the Wall Street Journal Online and released last week, showed Kerry leading with 53.8 percent to 43.7 percent for Bush and 1.2 percent for Nader.

Still, Moore noted that other polls have shown a narrower margin.

He said that Bush has followed the traditional approach of presidential candidates in choosing to campaign after debates in states considered up for grabs - which the political scientist took to mean that the president's campaign advisers must be convinced enough undecided and "switchable" Oregonians are out there to give Bush the first Republican victory since Ronald Reagan's landslide re-election in 1984.

Last year, Bush lost Oregon's seven electoral votes to Democrat Al Gore by less than a half-percent difference, another reason for Bush to continue to see Oregon as a state he can win.

"Neither Bush nor Kerry seems to have really grabbed the imagination of the entire state," Moore said. "The Bush people are excited and the Kerry people are excited, but there's no over-arching move one way or another."

EDWARDS IN EUGENE

Vice presidential hopeful John Edwards makes his first trip to Eugene on Wednesday.

The event: A rally on the east lawn of the Erb Memorial Union at the University of Oregon, near the intersection of 13th Avenue and University Street.

Tickets: To attend, tickets are available through the Kerry-Edwards campaign at 114 E. 16th Ave., Eugene, 345-5981.
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Title Annotation:Politics; Kerry's running mate is scheduled to talk about the ticket's health care agenda
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Oct 12, 2004
Words:506
Previous Article:House District 14 rivals envision better Oregon.
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