Posted: February 12, 2008 5:16 PM
Obama Aspires to Extend Streak in Potomac Primaries
Headed into Tuesday’s Potomac Primaries, the campaigns for Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both tried to position their candidates as underdogs.
“It is now in some ways the underdog campaign, even though it has received hundreds of thousands more popular votes,” former President Bill Clinton said of his wife’s presidential run at a George Mason University event on Monday.
After sweeping five contests over the weekend, Obama has the Democratic momentum du jour, but his campaign manager declared he’s still the underdog.
“While Obama’s victories demonstrate his broad national appeal, he still faces an uphill battle in every upcoming contest because the Clintons are far better known and have a political machine that’s been honed over two decades,” David Plouffe wrote.
Both candidates can lay claim to both underdog and front-runner status, depending which delegate tally you’re looking at. This list of delegate counts illustrates how close the Democratic race stands before today’s three primaries, which will divvy up 168 delegates.
Polls are set to close at 7 p.m. in Virginia and at 8 p.m. in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
“Throughout the region, most polling places appeared to be operating without major glitches,” The Washington Post reported.
Polls show Obama with a double-digit lead in Maryland and in Virginia where his “VP short-lister” Gov. Tim Kaine has been stumping for him.
In parts of Virginia, voting officials received a record number of absentee ballots — a significant sign of the expected turnout on Tuesday.
In Maryland, Democratic leaders predicted that party’s primary turnout could reach a record 1 million voters, more than twice the 2004 turnout, The New York Times reported.
In D.C., Obama is also heavily favored to win. He dropped into a Dunkin’ Donuts Tuesday morning with Mayor Adrian Fenty before he flew to Wisconsin to stump ahead of that state’s primary next week.
“After storming five presidential-nominating contests over the weekend, Sen. Barack Obama is favored to take three more primaries [Tuesday] and two later this month — a potential 10-contest run that will give him wins in nearly half the states compared with Sen. Hillary Clinton’s total of just 10 wins since voting began in Iowa,” the Wall Street Journal noted on Tuesday.
But Clinton still has a lead in the national polls. Her campaign has acknowledged that February likely wouldn’t be a good month for her. She has focused resources on February damage control and next month’s big contests in Texas and Ohio.
“I think that clearly things have not been going as great as they were with her victories on Super Tuesday, and we can’t wait to get to March 4,” Alan Patricof, one of Clinton’s national finance chairmen, told The New York Times.
But that strategy might not succeed for Clinton, as one candidate who recently led in his party’s national polls can attest.
“[T]he strategy looks increasingly similar to the one employed by Rudy Giuliani, who kept investing in a later payoff that never came,” the Tribune’s Swamp blog reported. What happened? The media’s need to consistently sum up the race in real time. Thus, Giuliani’s strategy, which might have made sense in a mathematical context, was reduced to rubble as he acquired the patina of a flop-sweaty loser.”
On Tuesday, Clinton headed for Texas where she will appear at a rally in El Paso while Potomac Primaries results are announced.