Local Politics

N.C. Primary Looms Large for Dems

Posted March 5, 2008

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— Tuesday's primaries resulted in an even closer race between Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. North Carolina, with 134 delegates, looks more and more likely to have an impact on the nomination.

North Carolina's delegation to the party convention this summer is second in size only to Pennsylvania's among the contests left, and the Democratic nomination is far from decided. Clinton won primaries Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island on Tuesday while Obama, who has a narrow lead in pledged delegates, won Vermont. A separate Texas caucus system for other delegates was too close to call Wednesday.

"They both need this state to push them into the convention," said Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University poll. "North Carolina is now a must-win – the last big state – so a candidate can say that they have the momentum."

Earlier this year, Obama posted easy wins in South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. North Carolina has a large population of black voters, a key component of Obama's support, and Bacot said his early polling shows the Illinois senator faring well in a Tar Heel matchup with Clinton.

There has been grassroots support for both Obama and Clinton in North Carolina, but neither candidate has an official campaign headquarters in the state. That could change in the coming weeks.

A spokesperson for Hillary Clinton said Wednesday, "We will be waging a rigorous campaign in North Carolina." He said staffers are finalizing decisions on a location for Clinton headquarters and beginning to hire staff.

The Obama campaign is reported to be looking into television advertising in the state.

Both Clinton and Obama have traveled to Chapel Hill to visit former candidate and former U.S. Sen. John Edwards and seek his support. He has not yet endorsed either candidate.

Meanwhile, state Democratic party activists are excited about having a presidential primary that matters.

"It looks like North Carolina will be a major player," said state Democratic Party chief Jerry Meek. "We fully expect at this point that both campaigns are going to be very actively engaged in North Carolina."

Typically, presidential primaries draw about 18 percent of voters to the polls. With the Democratic nomination still up for grabs, however, experts expect more interest, more advertising and a chance for voters to see the candidates up close and personal. Turnout for the May 6 primary could be as high as 65 percent.

Registration for the primary runs through April 11. If you miss that deadline, you can register on the spot by participating in One Stop Early Voting between April 17 and May 3.


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  • dsdaughtry Mar 6, 2008

    the question is who would Jesse Helms endorse?

  • trunkmonkee1971 Mar 6, 2008

    "Crossing the line" will be a hoot! It looks like the Democrat nominee will be unknown right up to convention time.

  • tarheelalum Mar 6, 2008

    Obama wins easily in NC!!!

  • john283594 Mar 6, 2008

    Colliedave, Yes, that is what my household is doing. Plus we want Florida and Michigan to count as well!

    Hilldawg in 2008!!! (The new vast rightwing conspiracy)

  • colliedave Mar 6, 2008

    I am a conservative Republican. Since dems and independants helped give us McCain, can I do the same and vote for Hillary?

  • 3forme Mar 6, 2008

    everybody can stay at john's house...or even better we could set up some cots for you at fort bragg or camp lejeune..sure you'd get a great welcome at either place...

  • TheAdmiral Mar 6, 2008

    Hey Dems & McCain -

    Here's your sign - don't come here - we don't want to hear empty promises and calls for change when your probably not going to do it, influence people in Washington to do it.

    We want less government - less socialism - less of what you are pitching.

    We want you to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Welfare. Bill Clinton's Welfare to work program - a great success if you keep putting people who can't carry a job in a job.

    Don't give me this immigration stance that you can't get rid of them without major resources. Guess what - your lack of resources let them all in - now it is time for you to do the right thing and dedicate the resources to get them out!

    You can not be lax in resources on one side of the coin then tell me your not going to do anything because you want to be lax on the other.

    You lost the vote if you are that ideologically and intellectually lazy.