Local Politics

N.C. Primary Could Be Key to Democratic Nomination

Posted February 6, 2008

— North Carolina's presidential primary is so late in the nominating process that for years, the state has been an afterthought to candidates.

Again this year, 45 states will have held their primaries or caucuses by the time North Carolina voters go to the polls on May 6. But this time, with a tight race between U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois for the Democratic nomination, the state could become a critical, final battleground before the national convention.

"For the first time in recent memory, there really is a chance that North Carolina could matter," said Rob Christensen, a political columnist for The News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh.

The last time North Carolina's presidential primary had an impact was in 1988, when the state participated in the first "Super Tuesday."

"We (could) actually have the Obama (and) Clinton campaigns in North Carolina, (which) means North Carolina voters get to see them up close and personal," Christensen said. "We could see TV ads, could have some forums."

The scenario could develop if the two candidates continue to split the delegates in primaries scheduled over the next three months.

Next Tuesday, Virginia, Maryland the District of Columbia have more than 200 delegates up for grabs. Then, 444 are on the table when Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Rhode Island vote in the first week of March. Pennsylvania votes in late April, with 188 delegates at stake.

According to CBS News, Clinton has 1,006 delegates and Obama has 935. To win the nomination, a candidate needs 2,025 delegates. The party has moved away from winner-take-all primaries, however, so it is unlikely either candidate will get anywhere near all the delegates chosen between now and the North Carolina balloting.

"If it's still down to the wire at that point, it's going be an exciting time for everybody," said Jerry Meek, chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party.

Because the state didn't try to push its primary up in the calendar, the Democratic National Committee rewarded North Carolina with a 25 percent increase in delegates.

"We'll have a much bigger say than our population would otherwise suggest," Meek said.

The Republican Party has more winner-takes-all formats in its state primaries, which means a nomination will likely be wrapped up before the North Carolina primary.

But state GOP leaders said their time will come.

"With us being the 10th-largest state in the nation, we will definitely be a priority in November," said Chris McClure, chief of staff for the North Carolina Republican Party.


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  • weasleyes Feb 6, 2008

    May God have mercy on our country!

  • whatelseisnew Feb 6, 2008

    All I can say is if you get the entire Congress and the Presidency in Democrat hands you better get used to a much thinner wallet, especially if you fall somewhere into the middle class layer from an income perspective. Apparently many posters here have some amnesia about Senator Clinton and some of her escapades during President Clinton's failed presidency. But the good news for people that only vote Democratic you will have your choice of Democrats to pick from if McCain is the GOP candidate. Regardless of who ends up being president I would dearly love to see every member of Congress replaced with brand new blood. Some people that understand you can not keep running massive debts and borrowing money.

  • Libandproud Feb 6, 2008

    "Do you really want to have the Clintons back in the White House?"


  • Humungous Feb 6, 2008

    Outside the Beltline

    Although I too endorse Obama, please don't taint his image by comparing him to Reagan. Please remember Reagan was an accomplished, skilled actor gifted in the art of making his viewers believing he was someone else. In all actuality, Nancy and her staff of psychics were calling all the shots.

  • x Feb 6, 2008

    Do you really want to have the Clintons back in the White House? Agreed we should be glad to be rid of Bush, but there has to be a better alternative than the Clintons....they are a package deal.

  • givemeabreak Feb 6, 2008

    I think Obama is another Edwards. Only one term as a senator that he did not complete. He needs experience. He is good, just not now. I am from Illinois and they love him. Clinton has experience, I like a Clinton/Obama ticket.

  • motorfinga Feb 6, 2008

    Vote Democratic so America can begin to repair the damage brought on by the Bush/Cheney criminal junta and The Republican Crime Syndicate in congress.

    Clinton/Obama 08.....Obama/Clinton 08

  • wildervb Feb 6, 2008

    Unless you've had your head in the sand for the last year, you must be aware that the Democrats have not been able to pass major legislature because they are blocked in the Senate by the Republicans (you need 60 votes to override a veto), and they've had several bills vetoed by the President. (Who let every Republican spending bill pass the first 6 years).

    Here's another President who had almost no experience. Abraham Lincoln. One Term Congressman who couldn't get re-elected. Became our greatest President. Saved the union in our greatest time of crisis.

  • Outside the Beltline Feb 6, 2008

    I'll be really happy to see both candidates come through and spend some of their money in NC. I'm definitely supportive of Obama. He has a proven record representing Illinois without the baggage that Hillary Clinton has, and he's a much better speaker than her.

    Part of Ronald Reagan's strength as president was his ability to speak to the people of the US and the world. He was even known as "The Great Communicator" when he was president. Perhaps Obama could bring back some of that gravitas that has been sorely lacking in the presidency.

  • doodad Feb 6, 2008

    We've got to get a Democrat back in the White House? The Democrats took over the House and Senate and what great feats have they accomplished?