Tuesday, July 25, 2006

John Edwards Gets Boost in Presidential Race

The Dems decided over the weekend to make a couple of significant alterations to the presidential primary calendar for 2008.

The Iowa Caucus will still be first, but the Democratic National Committee has approved moving the Nevada primary into the second spot ahead of New Hampshire. Also, the South Carolina primary was moved up to the fourth spot.

Eleven states petitioned to get their primaries moved up before the February 5 date (after which any state can schedule their primary at any time), but Nevada and South Carolina were chosen to provide more racial and geographic diversity to the early primary season.

According to The Fix, this move is a significant boon for John Edwards. A Des Moines Register poll last month showed very strong numbers for Edwards among likely caucus voters in Iowa. Edwards is also said to have strong connections in Nevada, which puts him in a good position to pull off a win in that primary, and South Carolina is virtually a lock for the former North Carolina Senator (he won the 2004 primary in S.C. by 15 percentage points).

If three of the first four primaries go to Edwards, that would make him a very formidable candidate heading into the rest of the states.

Conversely, the recent primary moves could spell trouble for candidates who are lesser known in the south, such as Russ Feingold, Evan Bayh, and Mark Warner.

Since the Nevada primary is sandwiched in between Iowa and New Hampshire, candidates won't have much time to garner grassroots support once the primaries start. In 2004, there were eight days between the first two primaries, Iowa and New Hampshire.

In 2008, however, there will be only five days between Iowa (Jan. 14) and Nevada (Jan. 19), and then only another three days between Nevada and New Hampshire (Jan. 22). The South Carolina primary will come one week after New Hampshire, around January 29, and the rest will start after February 5.

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