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Friday, January 4, 2008

They're Approaching the First Turn!!

George Wenschhof

After using the horse race metaphor in my Post during the election last night, I decided I would use one more but I promise, no more after this one!

I threw out some interesting statistics last night as I was posting but left one out that I had heard. That was approximately 236,000 voted in the Democratic caucuses last night. That is two times the number that voted four years ago. If this record Democratic turnout continues, the Republicans will have a lot to be worried about.

Clinton's front runner status and her campaign's attempt to paint her as the heir apparent for the Democratic Party nomination is now questionable in the voters minds after losing to Obama by 9 points. However, she was right last night when she said "the race is a marathon and not a sprint and that her campaign is built for the long haul".

The two Democratic candidates with the largest amount of campaign funds available are Senators Clinton and Obama. Former Senator Edwards decided to accept matching funds and this puts caps on the amount that can be spent in each state.

Edwards will most likely stay in until Super Tuesday on February 5th. However, if he does not do well in the next three primaries in New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, he may decide he is unable to compete on Super Tuesday when over twenty states hold their primaries. If he should drop out, who he throws his support to will become critical, for it will certainly help either Clinton or Obama. His problem has been he is having to battle both of them and it will be difficult for him to then throw his support to one of them. For that matter, forget about him receiving any consideration as a Vice-President running mate - he did that once already. More likely would be consideration as Secretary for HUD or another cabinet position.

Both the Clinton and Obama campaigns already have offices and staff on the ground in many of the February 5th primary states. Next up is New Hampshire on Tuesday and look to see Clinton try to develop a new look over the next several days. Her campaign tried the negative approach against Obama and then tried to portray her as a more friendly, kinder type and neither one worked. Receiving less votes from women than Obama in Iowa should tell the Clinton campaign something.

Obama needs to build off the momentum in Iowa and follow up with either a win or close second in New Hampshire. While the pressure is on Clinton not to end up third again and a second place finish for Edwards keeps him going.

Governor Richardson will probably stay in until Nevada's primary on January 19th for he has been working that state effectively. Nevada has only 33 delegates and was given the "special" honor by the DNC of being one of only four states scheduled in January. This awarded status was helped along by the fact their U.S. Senator Harry Reid is also the Senate Majority Leader. Richardson could do well here and then drop out which would allow him to "save face" somewhat

South Carolina then holds their primary on January 26th with their 54 delegates up for grabs. The outcome here is critical for this is the springboard to Super Tuesday which occurs nine days later. If Edwards does not finish above third in New Hampshire, Nevada and then here in South Carolina, I don't see how he can stay in the race after South Carolina.

Clinton desperately needs a win and her campaign is hoping for more than one win in the next three primaries leading up to Super Tuesday. Her campaign will be pulling out all the stops in the next four days for they realize she can not afford to lose New Hampshire and start the primaries with two straight loses.

The Obama campaign will continue with their resounding message of building hope and bringing people together along with the need to have a more coherent U.S. foreign policy.

Meanwhile the "bad boys and girls" in Michigan - January 15th (unless they change their date by tomorrow) and Florida - January 29th will have their delegates stripped by the Democratic National Committee who did not sanction these dates. Both of these states are critical in the eventual election of a Democrat for President and for the DNC to allow their primaries to become meaningless is a major disappointment.

It's now on to New Hampshire!

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