February 5, 2008

Southern Hospitality and Super Tuesday

Last Saturday, Senator Barack Obama scored a substantial victory in the South Carolina Democratic primary. Following a contentious week of back-and-forth attacks and allegations of record distortion, Obama beat his rivals Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) in the nation’s first Southern primary.

Obama won handily, compiling 55% of the vote and boosting his campaign’s case of broad appeal to voters. Clinton and her camp downplayed expectations amid charges of distorting Obama’s record and the effects of former president Bill Clinton’s vigorous campaigning. Edwards finished a distant third, and doubts of his campaign continuing beyond Super Tuesday are rising.

The Democrats are eager to move on to the behemoth Super Tuesday on Feb.5, where 24 states including Guam will decide who is awarded the 1,700 delegates that will be crucial to securing the nomination. Iranian Americans will play a vital role in deciding who survives Super Tuesday as states like New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Minnesota have significant Iranian American populations. The candidates will have to carefully target their advertising and attention to these states because of the large ad buys needed in these markets. The way that this election cycle is going, no stone will be left unturned.

On to Los Republicanos…the Republican candidates are sweating it out in a steel cage match that many believed would involve the four remaining major candidates: Romney, McCain, Huckabee and Giuliani. However, the contest for the Sunshine State is boiling down to a good ol’fashioned tête-à-tête between former Governor Mitt Romney and Arizona Senator John McCain. The other candidates are running low on fumes and cash, so Romney and McCain are jostling for position as the national leader of a party for a state that has the largest delegate share to date.

For Romney, his campaign will have to make inroads in the vital I-4 corridor of the state that contains Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and St. Pete where McCain enjoys strong support from self-described moderates and Hispanics while at the same time parrying attacks from McCain about flip flopping and Iraq. McCain must prove to be a better study at ye old economics because polls are showing that the economy reigns as the top issue for Florida GOP voters, and unlike Iowa and New Hampshire, this dance is for invited guests only (Republican closed primary).


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