A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday found that Obama leads McCain 46 percent to 44 percent among the state's likely voters, a statistical tie.
The Republican National Convention will be held in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul), which is home to a large community of Laotian Hmong immigrants numbering an estimated 60,000 people. With polling at a statistical tie, this voting group can provide John McCain (or Barack Obama) with a margin of victory that can deliver Minnesota's 10 electoral votes.
How can McCain win the support of Hmong voters? It's simple. Last year, Major General Vang Pao, the undisputed leader of the Hmong community in America, was arrested and charged with attempting to overthrow the communist government of Laos.
Many people in the Hmong community, who have historically supported Republican candidates, blame the current Republican administration for this turn of events. McCain will need to reach out to the Hmong community and fix the damage. If he really wants the unequivocal support of the Hmong community, he will need to strongly hint to the Hmong community that as president, he would pardon General Vang Pao should he be convicted.
This will help bring many disillusioned Hmong back into the Republican fold and inject some enthusiasm into his campaign in Minnesota. The McCain organization should not underestimate the importance of the Hmong community. The Hmong are politically active in Minnesota and have already elected two state legislators. With their help, Minnesota's 10 electoral votes can be delivered to John McCain.