We SUPPORT and ENDORSE JOHN EDWARDS, HILLARY CLINTON , Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich, Tom Vilsack, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, John Kerry , Wesley Clark and their SUPPORTERS AND OTHER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES




Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Senator Hillary Clinton is Leading , Democratic race scrambled in early look

Democratic race scrambled in early look

WASHINGTON -- Hillary Rodham Clinton is the national front-runner in the eight-person Democratic presidential primary. Yet when it comes to the state-by-state contests that will decide the nomination, the candidates are practically all over the map.
In some critical states, Clinton is trailing her rivals.
John Edwards is the favorite in the initial state of Iowa. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois is giving chase in several states and has as much money as Clinton to fund a tough challenge. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is making a play in states where his Hispanic heritage could establish a bond. Sens. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Joe Biden of Delaware are trying to break through in targeted states where they feel they have appeal.
And if former Vice President Al Gore gets in the race, it would be turned upside down.
Winning the nomination comes down to one magic number - 2,182. That's the number of delegates needed to secure the nomination in Denver Aug. 25-28, 2008.
Fundraising is critical because money pays for the staff to organize key states and the television advertising that influences voters. Clinton and Obama each brought in about $25 million in the first quarter, putting them in a strong position. Edwards, the 2004 vice presidential nominee, raised $14 million.
The primary calendar and number of delegates are still in flux, but here's how the early states are shaping up seven months before the voting begins in Iowa.
IOWA - Jan. 14 (45 pledged delegates)
The first voting state currently is John Edwards country, thanks to a strong organization left from his 2004 campaign and a focus on getting troops out of Iraq in this anti-war state. Clinton trails Edwards and sometimes Obama in most Iowa polls, leading her deputy campaign manager to recommend she bypass the state to focus on New Hampshire and the delegate-rich states holding primaries on Feb. 5. But the New York senator insists she will compete vigorously in Iowa, where the caucuses demand organization to get backers to vote. Clinton has called on her husband for help; former President Clinton will campaign with her in the state early next month. Obama has drawn large crowds in the state; Richardson has picked up support in Iowa in recent weeks, thanks to a witty and effective television ad campaign.
NEVADA - Jan. 19 (25 delegates)
The state has new prominence in presidential politics with an early caucus. Organized labor is expected to be a strong force, led by the Culinary Workers union that represents casino and hotel workers. Every Democratic candidate has been giving the union special attention, with Clinton, Obama and Edwards appearing within days of each other for rallies during contract negotiations. Clinton boasts a strong organization in the state headed by Rory Reid, the son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Clark County Commission Chairman. Clinton recently won the endorsement of Dina Titus, the popular state Senate Democratic leader who narrowly lost a bid for governor in 2006. Obama's volunteers have been going door-to-door, the Clinton campaign has been running phone banks and Edwards has made the most visits of the three. Richardson, from nearby New Mexico, also frequently travels to the state, taking advantage of his fluency in Spanish to woo the state's significant Hispanic population. Exit polls showed 10 percent of Hispanics turned out to vote in 2004, a number likely to jump next year.
NEW HAMPSHIRE - Jan. 22 (22 delegates)
The state is Clinton's to lose. She has locked up most of New Hampshire's institutional power and recent polls show her leading with more than a third of Democratic support. This is the state where her husband staged his comeback in 1992 and the Clintons have many friends there still. Obama is in second place but isn't ceding the state - young Obama volunteers armed with maps are campaigning door-to-door on a daily basis and he is drawing large crowds on his visits. All the campaigns are targeting independents, who can vote in either party's primary and have been trending Democratic in recent elections. Edwards recently dispatched some campaign veterans to New Hampshire, including abortion rights activist Kate Michelman, and plans to launch a more aggressive push in the state in coming weeks. His focus will be economic issues. Richardson climbed to 10 percent support in the most recent polls, fueled by his successful ad campaign.
SOUTH CAROLINA - Jan. 29 (45 delegates)
Several Democrats claim this state. It is Obama's best chance for victory among the earliest states, with black voters traditionally comprising nearly half the primary turnout. Obama has hundreds of volunteers in the state and his campaign plans to pair those grass-roots efforts with heavy television advertising. A Mason-Dixon poll this month showed Obama pulling in a third of Democratic voters, compared to a quarter for Clinton. Clinton is not ceding the black vote, however, and benefits from her husband's immense popularity in the black community. Edwards was born there and won the primary in 2004. He's focusing on rural and poverty outreach this time to keep it in his column, although he was at just 12 percent in the latest poll. A potential dark horse is Biden, who has spent considerable time in the state and has won several important endorsements from local black leaders.
FLORIDA - Jan. 29 (185 delegates)
Florida will be the first large, ethnically diverse state to host an early voting contest; it's also a key fundraising stop for presidential hopefuls. Most candidates have been slow to build campaign organizations here as Florida Democrats sort out a dispute with the national party over the earlier primary date and possible penalties. Clinton, who has a strong lead in recent Florida polls, will play hard in the state that decided the 2000 election, and Obama will do so as well. Both candidates have already visited the state for numerous fundraisers. The decision is more complicated for Edwards, who will likely have less money to spend than the two front-runners and is counting on a strong showing in his native South Carolina the same day. Florida's large Hispanic population also makes it fertile territory for Richardson.
MEGA TUESDAY - Feb. 5 (As many as 25 states and at least 1,370 delegates)
This is the first day that states other than Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina are allowed to hold their contests under party rules. And the states have been lining up to go on Feb. 5, perhaps as many as 25.
The national primary day is creating headaches for the campaigns as they try to figure out where to spend time and money. Split decisions in those early contests - Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina - could truly scramble the dynamics of 2008's biggest multistate contest.
The major prize is California (370 delegates), where Clinton and Obama have already been the toast of numerous Hollywood fundraisers. In a state so vast, candidates typically rely on expensive television advertising instead of traditional retail campaigning. But Clinton has hired an experienced campaign staff and has lined up key endorsements including Antonio Villaraigosa, the popular Los Angeles mayor. The campaign also is assembling a strategy to target the state's large number of absentee voters, many of whom will begin casting their ballots before the Iowa and New Hampshire contests.
Clinton holds a natural advantage in her adopted home state of New York (232), which also hosts its primary. So does neighboring New Jersey (107), and the state's fundraising powerhouse Sen. Bob Menendez has lined up with Clinton after much courting from the field. Obama's home state of Illinois (153) is poised to move to Feb. 5.
Edwards, a North Carolinian, is expressing confidence that he will win several Southern states casting votes that day, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri and Oklahoma, although significant numbers of black voters in some of those state could give the edge to Obama or Clinton. Also voting on Feb. 5 are the home states of Richardson, Dodd and Biden, although they have smaller numbers of delegates at stake.
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