By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One of the biggest political stories in Minnesota continues to be battle for the 8th Congressional seat between incumbent Chip Cravaack and Rick Nolan. Even voters who do not live in the district have likely seen the ads.

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On the national scene, the biggest political story of the week was the Presidential debate and the continued discussion of Governor Romney’s use of the phrase “binders full of women.”

For a fresh perspective on both these stories, Esme Murphy turned to Star Tribune Columnist John Rash. Here is their conversation:

Rash: When a candidate speaks for 90 minutes in a 90-minute debate, it’s almost inevitable that one of them is going to say something that’s awkward or has odd phrasing. When Governor Romney used that phrase in real time online — particularly on Twitter — it became an instant media meme and became kind of a takeaway story from there. It’s also led to some campaign controversy because others went and fact-checked Governor Romney’s account of what he did when he was elected Governor of Massachusetts and it doesn’t exactly square with what he said during the debate.

Murphy: Women are obviously key voters here, so this is actually a big deal.

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Rash: It does speak to the larger issue that women are a majority in the country by a slight amount and will probably be the slight majority of the electorate and getting their votes particularly in swing states is incredibly important.

Murphy: Switching gears … a lot of people are saying: Why am I seeing so many ads for the 8th Congressional district between Rick Nolan and Chip Cravaack? Why are we seeing so many ads?

Rash: Some of it has to do with how television works and certainly some of it has to do with how politics works. The way that the demography is changing in Minnesota, increasingly more of the population of the eight Congressional District, which many of think of as Duluth and the Iron Range, is coming further south to the northern border with the metro area.

When we think of television markets/TV markets, even though it is the Minneapolis St. Paul designated marketing areas, it covers half of the state. So, in order to get those votes in the southern part of the Eight District, the candidates feel they need to buy television time on Twin Cities television stations. The same dynamic takes place, of course, for Western Wisconsin viewers. It’s even more baffling to many of your viewers when they see ads for a Gubernatorial, Senatorial or Congressional race in Wisconsin when they live in Minnesota. It just depends on how the TV market is configured.

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You can read John Rash’s column in the Star Tribune every Saturday. You can listen to him every weekday morning at 7:55 a.m. on our sister station WCCO-AM.

Esme Murphy