Minnesota's electoral evolution from a solidly blue state to one that's at least a shade of purple has some wondering if presidential candidates may spend more time -- and money -- in the North Star State.

Candidates, of course, will maintain that Minnesota is crucial.

But projected campaign spending indicates that it isn't yet among the 13 consensus toss-up states, at least according to an analysis by the National Journal's Reid Wilson, who lists Las Vegas, Orlando, Charlotte, Washington and Columbus as hot 2012 markets, meaning North Carolina, Virginia and Nevada have joined Ohio, Florida and other swing states.

Political and journalism junkies may regret that Minnesota isn't stepping into the limelight.

But for those who already can't seem to escape the debates, it may be a relief. Nielsen reports that in 2010, political ads added to the commercial clutter at astounding levels in markets like Columbus, where more than 24,000, or 23 percent, of October TV commercials were campaign-related.

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John Rash is a Star Tribune editorial writer and columnist.