“Battleground Patriots” Gear Up For Presidential Showdown In Ohio

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-It's the ultimate battleground state, and one that will likely decide who wins the White House in two weeks. All eyes are now on the all-important swing state of Ohio, and one group of Alabama Republicans is heading for the frontlines.

A group of more than 100 GOP volunteers calling themselves "Battleground Patriots" will depart for the Buckeye State from Huntsville via bus on Wednesday morning. Alabama is expected to vote overwhelmingly for Republican nominee Mitt Romney next month, and state party officials said that was a big factor in the decision to send resources out of state.

Battleground Patriots staffers said they're planning a massive voter outreach effort in Ohio. Campaign tactics will range from door-knocking to phone bank work, with the goal of ensuring that Ohio voters who are undecided or leaning toward Romney get to the polls on or before election day. Early voting in Ohio started earlier this month.

"Voter contact is absolutely imperative," said Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, one of several GOP leaders who spoke at a "Battleground Bus" sendoff rally Tuesday evening in Huntsville. "The way you do it is by making individual voter contact, and that's why you are seeing Republicans, Democrats, independents and other supporters of Governor Romney across the country going to these battleground states, saying 'We want to make certain Mitt Romney wins, and these are the reasons why."

WHNT News 19 reporter Nick Banaszak will be providing exclusive coverage of the Battleground Patriots trip to Ohio. Nick's on-the-scene reports from the Buckeye state will begin Wednesday on WHNT News 19 at 5.  He'll post photos and blog updates here on WHNT.com throughout the rest of the week.

Ohio voters have picked the winning candidate in the last twelve presidential elections, the longest streak of any state in the Union. Polls in Ohio currently show a dead-heat between President Obama and Governor Romney. No Republican has ever won the White House without Ohio's support.