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The 22-front campaign

President Bush and Senator John Kerry are pouring resources into more than 20 states in a struggle to master what both sides describe as one of the largest and most complex electoral playing fields in nearly 20 years.

The broad map, including such unusual additions as Arizona, Colorado and Louisiana as well as the traditionally contested states like Ohio, is partly the result of the vast amount of money each candidate has raised and their decision to quit a campaign finance system that would put a ceiling on their spending. That has allowed Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry to spend - and experiment - in states they might otherwise have been forced to ignore, campaign aides said.

The new map also reflects demographic shifts that have put places like Arizona, a nominally Republican state, in play because of its growing Hispanic population, as well as polling that has found an increasing number of states that are nearly evenly divided. Campaign aides also say they feel pressure not to repeat what they view as Al Gore's mistake of abandoning states that ended up being decided by a few thousand votes.

The two campaigns are, as of now, looking at 22 states between them, a playing field that is about one-third larger than it was at this point in 2000. Analysts say it could expand even more in the months ahead, before undergoing the contraction that inevitably takes place after Labor Day, as the campaigns take stock of where they stand for the remaining 60 days of the contest. -- Candidates Face Sprawling and Complex Electoral Map (New York Times)

Here is a graphic showing the states in play.