ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
With polls showing Mitt Romney locked in tight races with President Obama in Colorado and Nevada, the Republican National Committee — in conjunction with the Romney campaign — is beefing up its operation in the two western battlegrounds.
GOP officials tell ABC News that the RNC is “adding additional staff” in both states — some of whom are being re-assigned from their posts in New Mexico (though the officials noted they “are maintaining offices and staff” there.)
Colorado, with its nine electoral votes, and Nevada, with six, are shaping up to be two of the mostly closely contested states on the 2012 map. The latest polls give Obama only a slight edge in both places.
A CBS News-New York Times-Quinnipiac University survey out earlier this week showed the president with 48 percent support compared to 47 percent for Romney. And a CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll released on Thursday finds Obama leading Romney 49 percent to 46 percent among likely voters.
By contrast, ABC News rates New Mexico as solidly Democratic.
The Republican presidential nominee will hold a public campaign event in Colorado this weekend for the first time since early August. And he heads to Nevada on Friday for an afternoon rally in Las Vegas. It will be his sixth trip to Nevada since April.
“The GOP Victory team is bolstering our organizations in the key battlegrounds of Colorado and Nevada, two places where the president is hemorrhaging support thanks to his failed economic policies. We are reallocating a few staff members from New Mexico where we will maintain staff and victory offices through November,” Republican National Committee spokesman Tim Miller told ABC News. “Our team will continue advocating for Governor Romney and his plan to strengthen the Middle class in each of these states where voters know that we can do better than the past four years.”
Colorado voted for Obama in 2008, but went with the Republican presidential candidate in all but one (1992) of the nine previous presidential elections dating back to 1972. Obama has spent more time in the state during the general election than his Republican challenger.
And the well-respected former Colorado GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams served up some advice for Romney in an interview on Wednesday with Denver’s Fox affiliate: “I think Mitt Romney needs to be here,” Wadhams said, referring to the greater Denver area, “and he needs to be in the Jefferson County and Arapahoe County suburbs, not in Pueblo.”
(Jefferson County flanks Denver to the West while Arapahoe extends eastward from the city’s center. Obama won both counties by comfortable margins in 2008.)
GOP sources tell ABC they have already “passed the 1 million voter contact mark” in both states. In Nevada, Republicans say they have made “4 times more phone calls and 12 times more door knocks than this time in 2008″ and in Colorado: “4 times more phone calls and 6 times more door knocks than this time” four years ago.
Other data points the Republicans cite: A 12 percent unemployment rate in Nevada and an 8.3 percent unemployment rate in Colorado where some 224,000 residents are out of work.
The Romney campaign has also been on the air with television ads in both states.