Set, Campaign: 2008 Presidential Race Starts Early||
In the first presidential primary since 1928 without a sitting president or
vice president running, more than a dozen hopefuls already have lined up for the
race, making for one of the longest campaign seasons ever.
While some potential nominees, like Senators Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and John
McCain, R-Ariz., are already well-known across the country, both parties' nominations
are wide open.
The Democratic and Republican parties each officially nominate one candidate to
run for president at their respective national conventions the summer before the
up to those conventions, candidates earn votes from convention delegates through
a primary election or caucus held in each state. During a primary, citizens vote
directly for the primary candidate of their choice within their party. A caucus
is different because voters meet to choose local delegates who will then support
a primary candidate.
In the past, the first
such events were the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary. These contests
set the tone for the presidential race and some candidates that don't do well
drop out of the race entirely.
The Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary
are planned for January 2008, but other states, including California and Florida,
are pushing to make their primaries early to gain more influence over the nomination
The potential rush of early primaries means candidates must raise money quickly.
will be more early events than we've ever seen before," Dan Balz, a political
reporter for the Washington Post told the NewsHour. "The fundraising requirements
are going to be greater than ever."
Political strategists say presidential
candidate will need to raise $100 million in 2007 to compete effectively in the
early 2008 primary season.
By the end of January, seven Democrats had officially stated their candidacy for
president, but two potential contenders attracted
the spotlight. |
Senator Hillary Clinton of New York formally announced her candidacy
this month, while Barack Obama, a senator from Illinois serving his first term
in Congress, opened an exploratory committee to look into the prospect of running.
The two senators have garnered media attention in part because Clinton
would be the first female president and Obama, who is mixed race, would be the
first black president.
Clinton is a second term senator and former first
lady who has established a reputation as a moderate Democrat in Congress.
attracts such crowds at speaking events that Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show"
coined the term "Obamania" to describe the response.
Democratic candidates include former North Carolina senator John Edwards and Bill
Richardson, the governor of New Mexico.
Edwards ran for vice president with
Massachusetts senator John Kerry in 2004 and now runs an anti-poverty center at
the University of North Carolina.
Richardson, who would be the first
Hispanic president, was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under former
President Clinton and then was Clinton's secretary of energy.
On the Republican side, Senator John McCain of Arizona and former mayor of New
York City Rudy Giuliani have been favored potential candidates for several years.
McCain, who lost the Republican nomination to George W. Bush in 2000, is one
of the most prominent politicians in Congress. McCain is a Vietnam veteran who
has a reputation for speaking out against some of his own party's policies.
is still exploring the possibility of running. He impressed the country with his
leadership as mayor of New York City when 9/11 occurred, but his pro-gay rights,
pro-choice and pro-gun control positions could alienate some Republican voters.
faces in the race include former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee, and former
governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney.
Both are known for being health
care advocates. Huckabee focused attention on personal health and health care
reform after losing more than 100 pounds in response to being diagnosed with diabetes.
Romney put Massachusetts in the national spotlight when he made health insurance
mandatory in the state.
too early to tell|
With all the familiar and new faces joining the race, the year leading up to
the first primary could show big swings in the public's favorites.
of the problems of being a front-runner like Hillary and Barack, if they make
a mistake, it will be magnified way beyond its own dimensions," Sen. Tom
Harkin of Iowa, who ran for the nomination in 1992, told the New York Times. "A
lot can change in a month."
Compiled by Talea Miller, NewsHour Extra
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