Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain outspent rival Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama by $35,000 in television ads airing in Wisconsin in the week following the Republican National Convention, according to a Wednesday report.

The Wisconsin Advertising Project shows Wisconsin as an increasingly important battleground state as the candidates continue their spending efforts to fight for the win in the state.

According to University of Wisconsin professor Ken Goldstein, director of the Wisconsin Advertising Project, the significance does not lie in who is outspending whom, but where they are spending. 

“Advertising is reality. If a state is significant to the campaign, they will be advertising there,” Goldstein said. 

In the weeks after the convention, the campaigns spent more than $7.5 million in the Midwest, with each party spending about equal amounts. 

Currently, Obama is outspending McCain in Indiana and Michigan, while McCain is outspending in Pennsylvania, Iowa and Minnesota, where Obama has only spent $18,000 compared to McCain’s $472,000, according to the Wisconsin Advertising Project.

The increased spending from McCain shows Wisconsin is now considered a battleground. Until recently, the state was not considered to be a close race, but McCain focusing more money and attention on Wisconsin shows that he believes he has a good chance of winning Wisconsin, Goldstein said. 

The real shock, Goldstein said, is not that McCain is outspending Obama, but that he is spending in Wisconsin at all.

According to Goldstein, the difference in where and how much the campaigns are spending on ground operations, such as the opening of new offices, is important to recognize.

Throughout Wisconsin, the areas each campaign focuses on may differ. Phillip Walzak, Wisconsin communications director for the Obama campaign, says it is a statewide strategy. 

According to Walzak, Obama has not ruled out any area of Wisconsin as a “safe zone,” and he believes that Wisconsin and other Midwest are tight races. 

“The campaign is running an aggressive operation here in Wisconsin, and no part of the state is being ignored,” Walzak said.

He says that the reason why the Midwest has received a good amount of attention is because “the issues of the election, such as health care, job creation and the energy crisis are front-in-center in the Midwest.” 

The most recent polls show Obama leading McCain in Wisconsin by a couple of percentage points, and as spending increases across the board, the race remains close throughout the Midwest.

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