Weekly Campaign Highlights: News From Florida, Iowa, Pennsylvania And Virginia

As election day approaches, Kaiser Health News' Sarah Barr samples news coverage each week from swing states around the country – how health policy developments, and other political issues, are playing in this year's vote.  

For instance, The Tampa Bay Times outlines how polical dynamics in one key Florida county:  

The Tampa Bay Times: Volusia County May Predict The Future For Obama And Romney
What do Rick Scott and Barack Obama have in common? Very little, except that they both carried Volusia County. If you want to see who wins Florida in November, you can't find a better county to watch than this perplexing mix of leather-clad bikers, rural fern growers, retirees, struggling mom and pop business owners, and working class suburbanites commuting to and from Orlando. Volusia has long been one of Florida's ultimate bellwether counties, probably because, for good or ill, it so mirrors Florida and America: a disorderly mix of cultures, interests and geography (Smith, 9/17). 

In other news, contests in Iowa, Virginia and Pennsylvania draw more attention:

Des Moines Register: King, Vilsack, Deal Blows In Third Debate
Democratic challenger Christie Vilsack and U.S. Rep. Steve King sniped repeatedly at each other during a debate on Monday night, exchanging pointed shots over the president's federal health care plan, the federal deficit, voter fraud and other issues. Vilsack, a southeast native who moved to Ames to oppose the Republican incumbent, berated King as an ineffective congressman who has seen the federal deficit balloon from $6 trillion to $16 trillion during his decade of service in Washington, D.C. ... The contrasts between Vilsack and King couldn't have been more clear than when they discussed President Barack Obama's health care plan (Petroski, 9/18).

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Kaine, Allen Emphasize Work Across Aisle
Entering the homestretch of Virginia's pivotal U.S. Senate race, it's clear that short of a campaign implosion, the battle between former Govs. George Allen and Timothy M. Kaine will be a squeaker. While numerous recent polls have shown President Barack Obama with an advantage in Virginia, the Kaine-Allen race has — with a few rare outliers — been deadlocked for more than a year. As a result, the battle for undecided, independent voters is reaching critical mass, with both candidates seeking to strike a distinctly bipartisan tone while continuing to pick apart each other's record (Hester, 9/18).

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pennsylvania Races In House Could Tip The Balance In Congress
Democrats, battered in congressional elections two years ago, are struggling to reverse the tide that gave Republicans control of the U.S. House. The year 2010 emerged as the third consecutive cycle of House elections to produce an unusually large turnover in the chamber, and Pennsylvania seats formed a big part of each of those waves. This year, with nearly two months to go to the election, the Pennsylvania scene appears more stable. And, while some leading Democrats predict that they can make the net gain of 25 seats needed to switch control of the House, Republican campaign officials contend that they will actually gain still more seats Nov. 6 (O'Toole, 9/16).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.