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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Is Edwards The King Maker or The Spoiler?

George Wenschhof

Some people are beginning to ask why is former North Carolina Senator and the 2004 Democratic Vice-President candidate John Edwards still in the race? After all, the two Democratic candidates receiving all the attention are Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Well, the Edwards campaign realizes that the longer the Democratic primaries continue with the two front runners battling each other with more and more vicious attacks, voters will begin to look at John Edwards.

Four years ago, the Democratic choice for President had been decided by mid-March. By that time, Senator John Kerry (Mass.) has won enough delegates to ensure his nomination as the Democratic Party's candidate for President.

You may recall that Democratic primary election started off with incredible grassroots support for former Vermont Governor Howard Dean who led all the Polls going into Iowa. General Wesley Clark even won some early primaries and John Edwards even beat John Kerry in S. Carolina 45% - 30%.

The S. Carolina Democratic primary is January 26th and today Edwards is not doing as well in the polls, click here:

However, in Nevada where the primary is this Saturday, it is almost a three way statistical tie between Obama, Clinton, and Edwards. For the latest Nevada Polls click here:

In Nevada, the Clinton and Obama campaign are locked into some hard nosed institutional political battles as they go after the vote. The Clinton campaign with former President Bill Clinton sounding more and more as though he is the candidate, is supporting the court battle by teachers to disallow caucuses to take place in 9 casinos in Las Vegas. This comes after the Culinary Workers Union with 60,000 members, many of whom work in Casinos, endorsed Obama. Since when did a Democrat argue against making it easier for voters to attend a caucus?

Anyway, look for Edwards to battle hard here. If he manages a second place finish as he did in Iowa, the polling in S. Carolina will most likely change. If the economy continues it's downward trend, will Edwards and his populist message begin to resonate?

Edwards is the only candidate to accept matching funds and while he will face caps on spending in the 23 states who have primaries on the new super Tuesday on February 5th, he will draw votes from Obama and Clinton. Regardless of how much money Clinton and Obama has, deciding how to spend campaign funds in 23 states all at one time is a difficult feat. With strategic media buys and campaign tactics, Edwards could deny either one of them of securing enough delegates to obtain a quick Democratic Party nomination.

If the voters would sour on the Obama - Clinton battles, Edwards could actually begin to pick up some wins. This Democratic primary calendar, as screwed up as it is, promises to be one of the more interesting ones in recent elections.

The convention will be held in Denver, Colorado on August 25-28th. In the case of a broker-ed convention where no candidate had won enough delegates to secure the nomination what will the Democratic Party do with Michigan and Florida, two states who have had their delegates stripped from them and rendered their primaries meaningless? If Edwards stays in all the way to the Democratic Party convention as he has been telling his supporters, he could well end up as the King maker, the Spoiler, or the Nominee.

Now that would be a convention worth having.

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