From my piece in Politico today...
If President Barack Obama bases his 2012 reelection campaign in Chicago, he will make history once again. Basing a challenger campaign outside the Washington area has been one of the historical markers of success, but there has not been a presidential reelection campaign based outside the Washington metropolitan region in modern American history.
It's amazing that presidential candidates looking to bring change to Washington still try to base their campaigns inside the Capital Beltway. Since 1960, the track record for nonincumbent presidents winning a national campaign based in D.C. or its suburbs has been pretty bad. In the past 13 presidential contests, eight winners were not incumbent presidents. The other five races featured an incumbent president who won: Lyndon B. Johnson (1964), Richard Nixon (1972), Ronald Reagan (1984), Bill Clinton (1996) and George W. Bush (2004). All of those incumbents based their campaigns in Washington or the Northern Virginia suburbs, primarily Arlington.
Of the eight winners who were not incumbent presidents, six based their campaigns outside the Washington area.
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