Arnold: Ohio Redux?

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It appears that Governor Schwarzenegger is heading back to Ohio, ground zero for presidential elections.

At a campaign event this morning in San Diego in support of Proposition 11, Schwarzenegger said that a trip to the Buckeye State is on the horizon in support of the Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin.

The governor, answering a question from a reporter, said he plans to travel to Columbus, Ohio to campaign for McCain late next week. And he made it clear that he thinks the trip isn't that big of a deal.

"I've done this in 1988, and in 1992, and on," said the governor according to an audio recording provided by his political team. Schwarzenegger's eponymous bodybuilding event is held every year in Columbus, which explains why he feels at home there.

Of course, Schwarzenegger's answer left out the Columbus campaign trip that's most remembered: the October 29, 2004 event in support of President George W. Bush. At that event, the governor told a local crowd estimated at some 20,000 that he was there to "pump [them] up." A few days later, Bush eked out a narrow win in Ohio.

Some pundits went so far as to say that Schwarzenegger may have helped seal the deal, especially in a media market like Columbus that was seen as crucial in the contest between Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry.

Schwarzenegger has a much closer relationship with McCain than he did Bush; still, given the strong sense in his home state that Barack Obama is the better choice on November 4, it will be interesting to see how Californians react to their governor's new extracurricular activities.

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About John Myers

John Myers is senior editor of KQED's new multimedia California Politics & Government Desk.  He has covered California politics for most of the past two decades -- serving previously as Sacramento bureau chief for KQED News and, most recently, as political editor for KXTV News10 (ABC) in Sacramento. He moderated the only gubernatorial debate of 2014, and was named one of the nation's top statehouse reporters by The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @johnmyers.

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