NEW POLLS FOR
TUESDAY'S CONTESTS. John Kerry's lead in nearly all of
the February 3 contest states appears to be holding strong. SOUTH
CAROLINA (CBS News): Edwards-30%, Kerry-18%, Clark-11%,
Sharpton-11%, Dean-10%. SOUTH CAROLINA (MSNBC/Zogby):
Edwards-26%, Kerry-22%, Dean-9%, Clark-8%, Sharpton-6%. ARIZONA
(MSNBC/Zogby): Kerry-36%, Clark-20%, Dean-10%, Lieberman-7%,
Edwards-6%. MISSOURI (MSNBC/Zogby): Kerry-46%,
Edwards-13%, Dean-8%. OKLAHOMA (MSNBC/Zogby):
Clark-25%, Kerry-22%, Edwards-16%, Dean-8%. In other big news,
Kerry scored a highly coveted endorsement in Michigan on Saturday:
Governor Jennifer Granholm. He also picked up the endorsements
of the Communications Workers of America and the Michigan Education
Association. Dean and Clark, meanwhile, both took shots at Kerry's
record, arguing that the Democrats cannot beat President Bush
in November by running an "old-style" DC politician
(said Clark) who is only "a talker" and not "a
doer" (said Dean).
SURPRISE RETIREMENT IN CONGRESS. Congresswoman
Jennifer Dunn (R-WA) stunned observers by announcing Friday night
that she would not seek re-election in 2004. Dunn, a 62-year-old
grandmother, recently remarried. "It is time for me to move
on ... While I never took a pledge on term limits, I do believe
that our nation is better served if from time to time we senior
members step aside to allow individuals with fresh ideas to challenge
the status quo in Congress," she explained. Dunn was once
the senior woman in the GOP Congressional leadership until her
failed bid in late 1998 for House Majority Leader. Based upon
voting history, Republicans should be favored to hold this seat
(although Al Gore did win this district in 2000). Dunn -- a former
State GOP Chair -- said she plans to remain active in Republican
campaigns, but will not endorse any successor in the GOP primary
for her seat. Congressman Jerry Kleczka (D-WI) also announced
his surprise retirement a few days ago.
RUNS FIRST IN MOST PLACES NOW. What a change a win or
two makes for John Kerry. Once pronounced politically dead in
the race, he now now leads -- or holds a close second -- in just
about all of the February 3 contests. Just take a look at the
contest states. MISSOURI (MSNBC/Zogby): Kerry-45%,
Edwards-11%, Dean-9%. MISSOURI (KSDK-TV/SurveyUSA):
Kerry-41%, Edwards-17%, Dean-16%, Clark-8%. NORTH DAKOTA
(Fargo Forum/WDAY-TV): Kerry-31%, Clark-15%, Edwards-6%,
Dean-5%. SOUTH CAROLINA (MSNBC/Zogby): Edwards-25%,
Kerry-24%, Dean-9%, Clark-8%. ARIZONA (MSNBC/Zogby):
Kerry-38%, Clark-17%, Dean-12%, Edwards-4%, Lieberman-4%. ARIZONA
(American Research Group): Kerry-24%, Clark-21%, Dean-10%.
OKLAHOMA (MSNBC/Zogby): Clark-27%, Kerry-19%,
Edwards-17%, Dean-9%. OKLAHOMA (Oklahoma
City Daily Oklahoman): Kerry-20%, Clark-18%, Dean-13%. DELAWARE
(American Research Group): Kerry-27%, Lieberman-16%, Dean-14%.
What does all this mean? If Edwards loses South Carolina to Kerry
-- a realistic possibility -- Edwards will be forced to quit the
race next week. If Clark fails to win either Oklahoma or Arizona,
he could be forced from the race next week. As for Dean, he (for
once) has no expectations to meet on February 3 -- but that's
only because he's not really competing in any of the states in
play on that day. For February 3, all Dean wants to do is break
the 15% mark required by party rules so he can add some more delegates
to his total from some of those states. Dean has pulled all his
TV spots off the air in those states and is instead concentrating
on winning the February 7 caucuses in either Michigan or Washington
State, and the February 17 Wisconsin primary. If Dean fails to
win either MI or WA, watch for him to exit the race. If Joe Lieberman
... wait, is Lieberman still in the race after his fifth place
finish in NH? He is certain to quit the race next week, regardless
of what happens in Delaware.
TRIPPI ON THE WAY OUT.
Are you wondering what happened to the $40 million that Howard
Dean raised? According to the New
York Times, Dean "spent roughly $9.2 million in
[TV] advertising since June, more than $2 million above the next
highest advertiser [Kerry] ... Nearly $6 million of Dr. Dean's
campaign money went to advertisements in Iowa and New Hampshire."
Some of the money paid salaries for the staff, which grew to over
500 people. Here's the most shocking part of the story: "Trippi
forfeited a salary as a campaign manager but collected commissions
-- said to be as high as 15 percent in some cases -- based on
advertising buys." Wait a minute ... the guy who made the
strategic decision on how much money to spend on TV took a cut
of everything they spent on TV? And -- if you were wondering --
the Times said Trippi was also the one who suggested
that Dean "give a rousing, fired-up speech" to the volunteers
after his third place finish in Iowa.
CHALLENGERS FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL. With John Kerry now the
clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination after his Iowa
and New Hampshire victories, his opponents are all scrambling
to stay alive. The Kerry rivals all note that he has only won
33 delegates in those two contests, but that it takes 2,161 to
win the nomination. Further, the CNN and AP delegate
count to date -- including pledged super-delegates and the
two first contests -- still places Dean first with 113, Kerry
second with 94, Edwards at 36, Clark at 30, Lieberman at 25, Sharpton
at 4, and Kucinich at 2. Dean tapped former Gore associate Roy
Neel to run the campaign, a move which forced campaign manager
Joe Trippi to resign. In a conference call Wednesday with Hill
supporters, Dean agreed that he must score a first place finish
in at least one state in the next two weeks or his campaign will
be finished. Dean is also suffering from severe money problems:
staffers were told they will not get their paychecks this Friday
so that the campaign can temporarily divert money to media and
other essential resources in key contest states. The campaign
has raised another $250,000 online since Tuesday, but a lot more
is needed to buy the TV spots in the upcoming contests. Dean needs
a win to get the big bucks flowing again. The biggest problem
for Dean -- whom NH voters told pollsters they overwhelmingly
liked the best for his views and passion, but didn't necessarily
vote for -- is voter concerns about his "electability."
According to the New York Times, only 14% of Kerry voters
in NH said they supported Kerry because they "liked what
he stood for." According to the exit poll, nearly all who
voted for Kerry did so because they thought he could best beat
Bush. If Dean can overcome that perception problem, he could re-emerge
as a major Kerry rival. The
Lieberman campaign -- and likely others -- had to do that already
from time to time in recent months. Dean was not expected to score
a win anywhere next Tuesday, but he hopes to do well enough in
some of those states (SC, NM and MO). Watch for Dean to make a
big push to win the Presidential caucuses in Michigan and Washington
on February 7. John Edwards concedes he must win South Carolina
next Tuesday or his campaign is likely finished. Wes Clark is
also needing to score a win somewhere on Tuesday to stay alive
-- and he is concentrating on Oklahoma, South Carolina and Arizona.
Joe Lieberman is just hoping for a win anywhere, but if all he
manages to do is score a victory in tiny Delaware on Tuesday --
versus any of the larger states in play -- watch for him to exit
the race. Al Sharpton wants to hit double digit in South Carolina
but, since there are no expectations of victory for him, he can
continue on with his campaign so long as there is some small amount
of money remaining in his coffers. The same is true for Dennis
Kucinich, who has already filed to seek re-election to Congress
WINS BIG IN N.H. It seems the "Marry a Kerry"
message (see the blog for 1/27/03) worked for John Kerry in Tuesday's
Nerw Hampshire primary. Kerry's impressive win certainly beat
the expectations created by various polls in the final days that
portrayed a much tightened primary race in the state. Kerry won
with 39%, followed by former frontrunner Howard Dean at 26%. Wes
Clark and John Edwards were virtually tied with 12% apiece, but
it appeared that Clark finished a few hundred votes ahead of Edwards.
Joe Lieberman finished fifth with 9% (a position that Lieberman
somehow described as a "three-way split for third" --
but we'd probably describe as "the third place finisher for
third place"). Dennis Kucinich had 1%, and Al Sharpton only
had a fraction of a percent. Kerry will now go into the Arizona,
South Carolina, Oklahoma and other February 2 contests with momentum
and money flowing in. Dean -- who still has money and an organization
-- will quickly have to pick one or two make-or-break states that
he must win to become viable again. Meanwhile, Edwards and Clark
will be fighting it out to see who emerges as the "centrist
alternative" to Kerry/Dean. Click
here for the complete N.H. primary results.
TO THE WIRE IN N.H. There are more signs that Howard
Dean is coming back strong in New Hampshire against new frontrunner
John Kerry in Tuesday's
primary. First we saw the final MSNBC/Zogby poll out Monday that
showed Dean trailing Kerry by only three points (31% to 28%).
Later on Monday came the final SurveyUSA poll (conducted for three
regional TV stations) that showed Kerry leading Dean by a close
33% to 28% vote. Both has margins of error in the 4-5% range.
The final independent American Research Group poll -- at the other
end of the polling results spectrum -- still claimed the race
is a 38% to 20% Kerry landslide. Tuesday night, we'll see the
numbers. As we're currently on the ground reporting from New Hampshire
-- and have been here for several days -- it appears as if the
Kerry and Dean campaigns are the only ones that seem to exhibit
real life on the streets outside of the big staged campaign events.
FYI: It now looks like the expected Tuesday snow storm will not
arrive until around polls closing time, so it is unlikely to seriously
impact the turnout.
A DEAN, MARRY A KERRY" ... OR NOT? As stupid as
it sounds, that line is how the Kerry folks in New Hampshire like
to explain why Dean did so well earlier in the race but now why
Kerry is doing well again. Here's the way the Kerry folks see
it: Democratic voters "dated" Dean when they were naive
and reckless because Dean was exciting or splashy but -- when
it's time to pick a guy to settle down and marry -- you bring
home a safe, reliable guy like Kerry to introduce to your parents
as your next husband. Interesting, but perhaps the Kerry folks
haven't been to the movies in a while. Who gets the girl in the
end in every flick? The safe, stable but passionless guy with
a good job ... or the romantic underdog of a guy who loves the
girl? Will NH voters go for the Kerry pitch ... or give the story
a romantic (but possibly unrealistic) Hollywood ending?
MOM. Add Joe Lieberman's mom to the list of those who
have already pronounced his still active 2004 Presidential campaign
dead. Just check out what she said to the Los Angeles Times
on Monday: "He's such a good man. I don't know why he didn't
catch on." The only question now is: Does Lieberman quit
the race this week after a poor New Hampshire showing, or next
week after he fails to win any of those primaries?
IMPEACHMENT MOVES FORWARD. The Connecticut State House
unanimously approved a resolution on Monday creating a bipartisan
committee to examine impeaching Governor John Rowland (R) for
alleged corruption and other misconduct violations. Rowland responded
by saying he was pleased the House created an official Committee
of Inquiry because he hopes he will be able to get a fair hearing
from the committee's members.
NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLS CONFLICT. Howard Dean is coming back
strong in New Hampshire ... or John Kerry is heading to huge win
in the state. Which is correct? That depends on which polls you
trust. The latest polls out of New Hampshire are offering sharply
different forecasts for the likely vote there Tuesday. The new
MSNBC/Zogby poll shows that Howard Dean has bounced back in the
state over the past three days, and now trails John
Kerry by only three points. The MSNBC/Zogby numbers:
Kerry-28%, Dean-25%, Clark-11%, Edwards-10%, Lieberman-9%. Factoring
in the 4-point margin of error, the Kerry-Dean race is a now statistical
tie. Contrast the close race numbers with the numbers out Monday
from the WHDH-TV/Suffolk University poll: Kerry-38%,
Dean-17%, Clark-10%, Edwards-9%, Lieberman-5%. This polls shows
Kerry slightly up, and Dean slightly down -- the opposite of the
MSNBC poll. Also see the numbers from the new Boston
Globe poll: Kerry-37%, Dean-17%,
Edwards-12%, Clark-11%, and Lieberman-7%. And Sunday's ARG
New Hampshire tracking poll: Kerry-39%,
Dean-20%, Edwards-16%, Clark-15%, Lieberman-5%, and Kucinich-1%.
The forecast for several inches of snow on election day is expected
to also skew the outcome, as it traditionally supresses the turnnout
of some demographic groups -- particularly seniors -- more than
CONCEDES HIS IOWA/N.H. GAMBIT ISN'T WORKING. Wes Clark
-- who skipped the Iowa contest and was banking on a NH victory
to get his campaign moving -- conceded to reporters over the weekend
that he will not finish near the top here. In fact, Clark continues
to slide in the polls and has a real chance of finishing a weak
fourth or fifth. Clark diverted most of his resources into NH
in the hopes of scoring a McCain-like victory in the state. The
strong re-emergence of fellow veteran Kerry siphoned away much
of the support Clark was counting on in NH. Clark said he does
not know where he expects to score his first victory, but says
he will continue on because he has broad support in many states
and, he believes, that voters will eventually turn to him as the
primary season progresses.
CONGRESMAN MAKES SURPRISE RETIREMENT ANNOUNCMENT. Congressman
Jerry Kleczka (D-WI) surprised friends on Saturday by calling
to let them know he decided to retire this year. Kleczka, 60,
hold a very safe Democratic seat. "You can go out feet first,
and that's not my desire, or you can say, 'I think we've served
with distinction, and this is the time to go home and seek a new
challenge,'" he explained to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
A big factor in his decision was his dislike of fundraising. Fundraising
is "the most embarrassing thing I've had to do in my life:
calling strangers and begging for money," he said. Kleczka
said he hopes to pursue public policy-related work. Kleczka has
no successor lined up and was unable to describe anyone as a frontrunner
for the open seat.
DAKOTA SPECIAL ELECTION NOMINEES SET. Democrats had already
selected attorney and 2002 nominee Stephanie Herseth as their
candidate in the June 1 special election for the US House seat
vacated by the resignation of Congressman Bill Janklow (R-SD).
Janklow resigned earlier this month, following his conviction
on felony charges related to the traffic accident death of a motorcylist.
Janklow -- a former Governor and former Attorney General -- was
sentenced last week to 100 days in jail. Republican leaders met
this past weekend to select their nominee. Eight candidates actively
sought to nomination, and all pledged to abide by the decision
and not run in the primary for the full-term if they were not
picked. When the dust settled, farmer and State Senator Larry
Diedrich emerged as the GOP nominee. Diedrich and Herseth (and
a Libertarian candidate) will now face off in a highly competitive
Special Election to fill the remainder of the term. June 1 is
also the same day that Herseth and Diedrich will likely be chosen
as their respective party nominees to run for the full-term in
WIDENS LEAD IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. John
Kerry continues to ride the wave of momentum he acquired with
his upset win in the Iowa Caucuses this past Monday, widening
his lead further over his various rivals. The latest FOX News/WMUR-TV
poll showed Kerry-37%, Dean-19%, Clark-15%, Edwards-11%, Lieberman-8%,
and Kucinich-3%. Other new polls released Friday show that the
race may actually be closer. MSNBC/Zogby poll has Kerry leading
Dean by a 30% to 22% vote. CNN/USA Todat shows Kerry leading by
12 points. However, the new weather forecast for primary day calls
for snow, which could have a major effect on GOTV efforts.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA? With all the attention this week on NH,
we often forget that voters in seven more states cast ballots
on February 3. Oklahoma is one of the hot battleground states
that day. A new KFOR-TV poll shows Wes Clark leading there with
32%. Edwards was second with 23%, Kerry had 18%, Dean had 10%,
and Lieberman was at 7%.
AND CALIFORNIA? The crown jewel of the primary season
-- particularly in terms of the total delegates at stake in the
contest -- is California on March 2nd. The KABC-TV/KPIX-TV poll
out Friday has Kerry narrowly leading Dean by a 31% to 26% vote,
and the others trailed far behind. This indicates a major leap
for Kerry, who has trailed Dean in California by a wide margin
for the past several months.
MOVES AHEAD IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. The latest independent
polls out of New Hampshire released Thursday show that John Kerry
has now taken the lead in the Granite State, with just five days
to go until the all-important primary there. Here are the numbers
from the new Boston Globe poll:
Kerry-31%, Dean-21%, Clark-16%, Edwards-11% and Lieberman-4%.
MSNBC/Zogby poll: Kerry-27%, Dean-24%, Clark-15%.
WHDH-TV/Suffolk University poll: Kerry-27%, Dean-19%,
Clark-15%, Edwards-7%, Lieberman-6%. These numbers reflect a jump
for Kerry and Edwards, and downward movement for Dean, Clark and
Lieberman. In related bad news for the Dean camp, former US Senator
John Durkin (D-NH) withdrew his endorsement of Dean on Wednesday
and has now declared himself "undecided." Durkin said
he changed his mind after viewing Dean's fiery election night
speech in Iowa on Monday. Yet, with all Dean's resources -- money
and volunteers -- don't count him out yet. He ran strongest when
he was an underdog insurgent. Just remember Dean campaign manager
Joe Trippi's frequent swipes at Kerry as "the annointed one"
when the race looked just like this several months ago. The candidates
debate again tonight in NH -- but look for Kerry, Clark or Edwards
to be targets of the attacks now, not Dean.
NOT-SO-NICE GUY? On election night Monday,
everyone attributed John Edwards' strong finish to the "no
attacks" nature of his campaign and the candidate's "nice
guy" persona. It turns out the Edwards campaign in Iowa was
actually doing a bit a nasty campaigning at the stealth level.
ABC News obtained a copy of the official instruction sheets given
to all the Edwards precinct captains in Iowa. Here's what ABC
reported: "The document -- marked 'CONFIDENTIAL AND PRIVILEDGED'
[sic] and 'NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION' and signed by the senator --
encourages Edwards supporters to tell undecided caucus-attendees
that ... Dean is a 'Park Avenue elitist from New York City' and
say ... Kerry has 'the stale record of a Washington insider' and
'has been a part of the failed Washington politics for too long.'"
Edwards' campaign spokesman said that the Senator "was not
aware of this document. Once he found out about it, he takes full
responsibility for it. He thinks it was wrong and has instructed
the staff not to do anything like that again."
THE ROPES. With momentum growing for impeachment proceedings,
embattled Connecticut Governor John Rowland (R) is seeing his
support dwindle. The Hartford Courant notes that Rowland's
current poll numbers match President Nixon's from August 1974,
shortly before he resigned. Rowland is the target of a federal
corruption probe in which he reportedly received favors from state
contractors. Rowland now admits they paid to do improvements on
his vacation home, but denies he gave them any favorable reciprocity
in official dealings with them. According to the latest Quinnipiac
University poll, 68% of voters say Rowland should resign, while
only 23% disagree. Even a plurailty of Republican respondents
want him to quit. By a 56%-33% margin, voters support Rowland's
impeachment if he does not resign.
NEVER HEARD OF YOU, EITHER. Today we continue our series
on the more obscure Presidential candidates with our profile of
Katherine Bateman (D-IL). In addition to Dean,
Kerry and others you've heard of, Bateman is one of the dozens
of other Presidential candidates competing for attention on the
New Hampshire primary ballot. However, unlike most of the other
candidates in the race, Katherine Bateman's candidacy is not about
winning votes. Instead, it is largely intended as an educational
vehicle to get teenagers interested in the political process.
"I am running solely on a teen platform determined by teens
through their virtual campaign headquarters at www.teenvoice2004.com,"
wrote Bateman. The teen voters first decided (by online voting)
that Bateman -- the project director for the Teen Voice group
-- will run as a Democrat in the New Hampshire Primary. Bateman
was Financial Advisor for the Illinois Educational Facilities
Authority until its closure at the end of 2003. Before that, she
was a Vice President at Nuveen Investments and a college professor.
She also wrote various articles and reports -- plus a book for
a teen audience entitled The Young Investor. Politics
runs in Bateman's familty, as she is a distant cousin of the 19th
century statesmen Henry Clay and Cassius Clay. She earned her
Bachelor's degree in humanities from Berea College, and her Master's
and PhD degrees in medieval art history from the University of
Michigan. Bateman has also done post-doctoral work in early Christian
history and iconography at the University of Chicago.
RAY CHARLES AWARD FOR POLITICAL PUNDITRY GOES TO ..."
The award goes to Politics1, because we really didn't see what
was going to happen in Iowa this week. Well, we did predict that
Gephardt would score a poor finish and be forced from the race,
but even Ol' Ray could have seen that one coming. We knew Kerry
was coming back strong, but we wrongly thought he was heading
for second place. We missed the boat entirely on Dean, as his
"secret weapon" of young, first time voters failed to
materialize. That said, I guess we'll stop predicting stuff for
NUMBERS FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE. Even before the caucus results
were in, it was clear that NH primary voters also sensed the new
energy coming from the John Kerry campaign. Just compare these
polls ... Pre-Iowa WHDH-TV poll numbers from Monday: Dean-23%,
Kerry-20%, Clark-15%. Edwards and Lieberman were in the single
digits, while 26% said they were still undecided. Post-Iowa WHDH-TV
poll numbers released Wednesday: Dean-22%, Kerry-20%, Clark-15%,
Edwards and Lieberman tied at 6% each, Kucinich-1%, and Undecided-29%.
The American Research Group NH Poll (released Wednesday) is also
post-Iowa: Dean-26%, Kerry-24%, Clark-18%, Edwards-9%, Lieberman-7%.
OUT. It was no surprise, but Dick Gephardt's poor fourth
place finish forced him to exit the Presidential race on Tuesday.
"I gave this campaign everything I had in me. Today my pursuit
of the presidency has reached its end. I'm withdrawing as a candidate
and returning to private life after a long time in the warm light
of public service," he said at his emotional press conference.
Gephardt's departure also means that the Missouri primary on February
3 -- and the state's 74 convention delegates -- will now be a
contested race. In recent polls before his withdrawal, Gephardt
led Dean by a 2-1 margin with all others trailing far behind.
Gephardt's name will still remain on the ballot there, but he
implied he does not intend to endorse any Democrat during the
EDWARDS SCORE BIG UPSET IN IOWA. Wow!! We've got a whole
new Presidential race now! Senator John Kerry won a solid victory
in the Iowa caucuses, placing first with 38%. Senator John Edwards
was also impressive with a close second at 32% -- overcoming a
perceived lack of organization on the ground. Governor Howard
Dean was one of the two "losers" of the evening -- falling
far short of media expectations -- by finishing third with 18%.
Fatally wounded and finishing fourth was Congressman Dick Gephardt
at 11%, who is expected to quit the race on Tuesday in St. Louis.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich was fifth with 1%. Kerry found his
political message and gained traction in the last two weeks in
a risky gamble -- moving all his resources from around the country
into Iowa -- that paid off big. Edwards, likewise, parlayed his
"nice guy" demeanor, charm and a message of electability
to move ahead. Next Tuesday's New Hampshire primary will be now
a wild, competitive race between Dean, Kerry, Edwards and the
two guys (Wes Clark and Joe Lieberman) who skipped the Iowa contest.
PART IN PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY. Casting an educated
ballot is a great ... but taking the extra step (into the freezing
cold) and getting involved is even better. The P2004 Democratic
race will be significantly shaped by what happens in NH next Tuedsay.
That's why we're encouraging all Dems to hit the road. That's
right: Go to the Granite State and volunteer for the candidate
of your choice. Don't know how? Follow these links that will take
you directly to the special pages for New Hampshire-bound volunteers:
Kerry, Joe Lieberman, Dennis
Kucinich. (We're not ignoring Al Sharpton, but
his site isn't seeking "travel to NH" volunteers).
And -- to show we're not taking sides -- supporters of President
Bush can also get involved right now by making a contribution
to his campaign by clicking
here (yes, Bush has a primary in NH -- but it's not competitive).
We're not ignoring third party candidates, either ... but they
don't really have a primary next week.
ITEMS WANTED!! As any regular visitors to Politics1 knows
well, publisher Ron Gunzburger collects campaign buttons and other
interesting items. In fact, he also uses them to help decorate
this site. Now Ron needs your help. He doesn't ask for much, but
he wants one of those orange Howard Dean "Iowa Perfect Storm"
caps (plus a blue Kerry and a green Edwards cap). If you've got
one you'd be willing to donate (or sell), drop us a note.
We'd also appreciate donations of campaign buttons for candidates
for President, Governor, US Senate and Congress ... and that includes
any Republicans, Dems, Greens, Libertarians, and others. Please
mail 'em to us at: Politics1, 409 NE 17 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale,
FL 33301. Thanks!!
Tonight's Iowa Democratic Presidential caucuses will
mark the official start
of the 2004 Presidential election campaign. After all the speeches
... all the debates ... all the spin ... and the dollars raised
and spent ... we'll finally get a good dose of reality. That's
right: not poll numbers, but actual vote totals. From all accounts,
Howard Dean, John Kerry, John Edwards and Dick Gehardt are locked
in a very close race. Here's the really exciting part: by the
time to smoke clears tonight, at least one or two of these four
guys will be politically eliminated from the race. The two most
likely to be voted of Presidential Survivor Island are Dick Gephardt
and John Kerry. Both need a win in Iowa (or, possibly, a near-tie
second place) to simply ensure they can continue forward, raise
money, etc. A loss for Dean would puncture the "inevitability"
perception, but not eliminate him from the race because of the
strength of his national organization and financial resources.
For Edwards, any strong finish is good enough because he's already
far exceeded any media expectations for him in the state.
TO GET REAL-TIME IOWA RESULTS: In addition to the national
news sites, the best source of real-time results is likely to
be the Iowa Democratic Party's official caucus site at caucus2004.org.
For more real-time results tonight, also check out the Des
Moines Register, WHO-TV
13 Des Moines, and KCRG-TV
9 (Cedar Rapids). Caucus meetings begin at 6:30 pm CMT (7:30
Eastern), and will end by 8:30 pm CMT. Expect the first results
to start trickling in around 8 pm CMT (9 pm Eastern).
... PROGRAMS ... GET YOUR PROGRAMS HERE!" You can't
tell the players without a program. We just reviewed the enjoyable
new paperback that seeks to be the gameday program for the 2004
candidates. Check out Slate's
Field Guide to the Candidates 2004, written by William
Saletan and the staff at Slate.com. The book -- which is only
$8.99 -- covers President Bush and the field of Dems. Each profile
is in set format: main agenda, worldview, best of, worst of, flip-flops,
gaffes, and more. Several elements of humor in the profiles, too.
TO THE WIRE. The final Des Moines Register poll
of likely Iowa caucus participants -- released Saturday night
-- shows that John Kerry and John Edwards have both moved ahead
of perceived frontrunners Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt. The numbers:
Kerry-26%, Edwards-23%, Dean-20%,
Gephardt-18%, Dennis Kucinich-3%, Wes Clark-2%, Joe Lieberman-1%,
and Al Sharpton-1%. The final MSNBC/Zogby shows slightly different
numbers: Kerry-24%, Dean-23%, Gephardt-19%, Edwards-18%. The most
interesting number is from the Register poll: 46% of
all respondents said they thought they could change their minds
again before voting on Monday night. Edwards has surged over the
past three weeks from a distant fourth place to his current spot.
However, it takes much more than popularity to win the Iowa caucuses.
Campaigns must get supporters to their local meetings Monday,
and keep them on board during the night, while trying to simultaneously
recruit attending supporters of other candidates and undecided
voters. The key to all of this is having an large organization
in place that can identify supporters, arrange for babysitters
(and etc.) on caucus night, rent vehicles, make living arrangement
for volunteers, arrange rides to and from the caucus meetings,
and more. By caucus night, each campaign knows the names of every
likely supporter they have in the state. Those factors favor Dean
and Gephardt, who have the best organizations in the Iowa. That
said, we'll still stick to our predicted order of finish from
a few days ago: Dean, Kerry, Gephardt, Edwards.
WASN'T DEAN SUPPOSED TO BE THE "McGOVERN OF 2004"?
For months, rivals have been calling Howard Dean the "George
McGovern of 2004" -- referencing back to McGovern's anti-war
campaign that lost to President Nixon by a landslide state count
of 49-1. Now, here's where I get confused: McGovern endorsed Wesley
Clark -- not Dean -- on Sunday. And -- FYI -- portly liberal filmmaker
Michael Moore is also out campaigning for Clark. So, does that
make Clark the McGovern of 2004? Since we're clearly in a 1972
state of mind, is Joe Lieberman the Ed Muskie of 2004? Leaping
forward four years -- to 1976 -- we'd note that Dean is visiting
church in Plains, Georgia, today as a guest of Jimmy Carter.
P2004 NUMBERS. The latest numbers out
of New Hampshire show Dean continuing to lead, but Kerry quickly
bouncing back into the contest. New Hampshire
(ARG tracking poll): Dean-28%, Clark-20%, Kerry-19%, Edwards-8%,
Lieberman-6%, and Gephardt-3%. New Mexico holds
its primary of February 3, and that raise is also a close contest.
The numbers (Albuquerque Journal): Dean-18%, Clark-16%,
Kerry and Lieberman tied with 8% each, Gephardt-6%, and Kucinich
and Edwards tied with 4% each. Here are also the latest numbers
from California (Field Poll): Dean-25%, Clark-20%,
Lieberman-12%, Kerry-7%, Gephardt-6%, and Edwards, Sharpton and
Kucinich with 3% apiece.
FILING RE-CLOSES. The extended period of Congressional
filing in Texas closed Friday, showing some interesting match-ups
in the primary and in November. The filing period was extended
after a federal court approved to newly redrawn district lines.
Congressman Martin Frost (D) -- the former DCCC Chair and a top
GOP target of the redistricting effort -- filed at the last minute
to oppose Congressman Pete Sessions (R). The district favors the
GOP, but Frost said that with enough money and a high enough minority
turnout, a Democrat can win the seat. Congressman Chris Bell (D)
-- who is white -- faces a tough primary challenge in his new
minority district. Likewise for Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D),
who faces a competitive primary in his new Hispanic-dominated
district. Congressman Ralph Hall (R) -- who switched parties two
weeks ago -- saw nearly all of his GOP rivals exit the race. There
are also several open seat primary contests. See our Texas
page for all of the filing info.