Primary move could give voice to state

Published 8:39 am Wednesday, February 28, 2007

By Staff
Alabama's move to have our Presidential Primary early next year, in order to give us a voice in the nominating process, may be overshadowed. It was a good idea but it is obviously not novel. A good many states have the same idea and most of them are a lot bigger and more important. California, Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey are joining the bandwagon to move their preference primary to Feb. 5, 2008. However, we may be able to compete with South Carolina as a Deep South bellwether barometer.
This move by large states like California changes the entire dynamics of what we have been used to in past presidential years. Small insignificant states like New Hampshire and Iowa have stolen the spotlight and magnified their importance. An early win in those states gave a candidate a perception of momentum. With these big states coming on their heels a presidential candidate can ignore the need to spend months trudging through the snow in New Hampshire and knocking on every farmhouse door in Iowa in order to get four convention votes. A week later they win in vote rich California, Florida, or Illinois and the television reveals that candidate has 400 delegates while the New Hampshire winner has 4. Therefore, you will see the big name frontrunners ignore these states for the first time and go for the brass ring in California.
The golden state is now a Democratic stronghold. It is a solidly blue state along with New York. These two states provide the base of Democratic electoral votes and also are the golden vault from which they raise their campaign dough. Hollywood is a goldmine for Democratic hopefuls. The two Democratic frontrunners, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have already tapped this money vein.
The Presidential Race has started early. Most of the horses are in the chute, announced, and ready to go for 2008. On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton will be hard to derail. Currently she is favored by 42 percent, Obama has 21 percent, Al Gore who is not running has 10 percent, John Edwards who has been running for four years only has 8 percent, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is at 4 percent. Three others, Sen. John Biden, Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, appear to be also rans.
Obama will mount a good campaign. He will raise a lot of money, win several primaries, and run second in many. He will build national name identification. However, he is running to run again. Obama will be the favorite for the Democratic nomination after Hillary, who will be the Democratic nominee in 2008. She has the money and organization. The big states moving to early primary dates play into her hand. The Las Vegas odds makers have her as the early favorite to go all the way. In fact, they handicap her as a three-to-one favorite.
Steve Flowers is a political columnist who's column appears weekly in Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the State Legislature. He may be reached at
What about the Republicans? The polls in the GOP column reveal former New
York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has 37 percent, Arizona Sen. John McCain is at 27
percent, Newt Gingrich, an unannounced candidate, garners 10 percent, former
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gets 6 percent and New Yorker George Pataki
is at 3 percent. Tommy Thompson, Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, and Mike
Huckabee are also in the race.
In my opinion Rudy Giuliani will have a hard time surviving the scrutiny of
a Republican primary. If he makes it to the General Election campaign he
will be a serious contender. Giuliani would be considered liberal by
Democratic Party standards. The New Yorker is pro-abortion, pro-gay
marriage, and anti-gun. His position on any one of these issues could deny
him the GOP nomination where arch social conservatives dictate the nominee.
His stance on all three issues along with his personal life being the
subject of New York tabloid fodder makes his journey through a Republican
primary field more treacherous than navigating successfully through a
minefield. However, the large liberal states like California moving their
primary to an early date helps him like it does Hillary. You could see a
race between two New Yorkers, Hillary and Rudy.
John McCain has a better chance to be the GOP nominee. However, McCain's
positioning of himself alongside George Bush on the Iraq war will be a heavy
yoke to carry in a general election campaign.
It will be fun to watch.
See you next week.

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