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chimpymustgo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-20-03 10:01 AM
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Democrats rethink strategy (Boston Globe article)
Edited on Sun Jul-20-03 10:28 AM by chimpymustgo
Campaigns deal with condensed primary slate

By Anne E. Kornblut, Globe Staff, 7/20/2003

ASHINGTON -- In past presidential election cycles, a single phrase summed up the challenge for Democratic candidates during primary season: ''Iowa and New Hampshire.''

The two states are still scheduled to hold the first contests in next year's race for the nomination, but thanks to a dramatic change in the primary calendar, as well as a combination of geographical advantages shared by several contenders, the catchphrase in 2004 could well be ''Oklahoma and Michigan.'' Or ''Arizona and South Carolina.''

The shifted schedule -- with scores of races being held earlier than usual -- has Democratic campaign advisers plotting creative strategies about where to send their candidates to campaign, where to seek endorsements, and where to buy television ads, no longer certain that a strong showing in Iowa or New Hampshire will build enough momentum to sweep the rest of the race.

At the same time, strategists are looking beyond the first two contests to a much larger degree than in the past, assuming that Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri has a next-door advantage in Iowa and Howard Dean of Vermont and Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts have an edge in New Hampshire.


For the first time, Democrats will have an early Super Tuesday in 2004, with at least seven states, and perhaps more, holding contests on Feb. 3, just one week after the New Hampshire primary. With that in mind, Dean is planning to announce state campaign directors in eight new states -- from New Mexico to Maine -- in early August. An adviser to Kerry said he will have professional campaign offices in more than 20 states by Labor Day. Senator Bob Graham of Florida, who entered the race five months ago, has named state directors in Oklahoma and South Carolina.

A key piece of the strategy for Senator John Edwards of North Carolina -- with no automatic advantage in Iowa or New Hampshire -- is to perform well in the first two races but focus intently on the Feb. 3 races, in the hope of sweeping two Southern states (South Carolina and Oklahoma) and two Western states (Arizona and New Mexico) on a single day. His approach also targets Feb. 10, when both Virginia and Tennessee hold their primaries.

In the past, such a strategy would not have worked, his advisers say, because the long gap between the New Hampshire primary and the next contest gave the early winners ample time to redirect their resources as they trumpeted their momentum in the states that came next. With just a seven-day gap, and campaign organizations being created in more than a dozen states many months in advance, ''you can't just work Iowa and New Hampshire now and count on the momentum from that to carry you beyond,'' Edwards spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri said.

''This is going to be unlike any primary process we've seen before,'' she said from New Mexico, where she was accompanying Edwards to a campaign event.


An adviser to Kerry, speaking on condition of anonymity, dismissed that notion. ''Everybody has some `we can live to see another day' rationale,'' the adviser said, adding that Kerry is running ''more of a traditional front-runner campaign, looking to set up a presence everywhere,'' targeting the New Hampshire primary, but also mapping out a strategy that takes him well beyond.

He has visited every state with a contest in February and most of the battlegrounds in March, and has set up offices in 12 states so far, with another eight on the way, the adviser said. One advantage his strategists see: There are large veteran populations in several of the early states, including South Carolina, Michigan, and Arizona.


The effect of the new arrangement, McAuliffe said, is that ''for all of our candidates wanting to get their message out, they can now pick any combination of Arizona, South Carolina, Oklahoma, New Mexico. They don't have to play everywhere, they can pick and choose and use resources wisely.''

He said he expects candidates to begin dropping out after March 3, and hopes the race will be over shortly after the next Super Tuesday on March 2.


Worth a read.
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