Friday, February 8, 2008

The Potomac Primary Is Coming: AB's Vote Finally Counts!!!

Well, of course I know votes always technically count (unless you're in Florida or Ohio), but what I really mean is next Tuesday's Potomac Primary will be different. Usually, by the time the fine folks of DC, Maryland, and Virginia (an urreah sometimes cheesily referred to as "The DMV") get to vote, the Democratic candidacy is usually long since decided. Of course this doesn't stop me from rolling out of bed and down to my local middle school to pull the lever anyway, but it's almost like when the coach clears the bench at the end of the game. Yeah, the 12th man might score a basket or two, but the final outcome is hardly in question.

[Editor's Note: I realize has reverted to all-politricks all the time the past couple of weeks. Bear with me, once next Tuesday is in the rearview, we'll return to our regularly scheduled coonin' and greasy talk.]

This time is different though. Clinton and Obama are neck-in-neck, and engaged in a battle that could last right up until the Democratic National Convention. So suddenly, a region that is arguably the most politically savvy in the entire nation is suddenly an important player, as opposed to being relegated to D-League status. Needless to say, I can't wait till Tuesday.

The nation's capital and its suburbs have a rare opportunity to help decide a presidential election rather than just obsess about it, as next Tuesday's three-jurisdiction contest centers on Washington and its two neighbors.

Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia usually hold primaries after the two parties' nominees are settled. This year, however, the Democratic nomination remains very much in play - and the Republican contest still has life - as the contests move to the mid-Atlantic region.

Handicapping the Feb. 12 races is difficult. With the 24-state Super Tuesday election consuming nearly all the candidates' time and money until now, campaign activities and reliable polling have been scarce.

Political activists say Obama should do well in the District of Columbia, a predominantly black city with 15 pledged delegates. D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty endorsed him months ago. Maryland also is well-suited to the Illinois senator, party insiders say, while Virginia is more of a toss-up.
The DC region on paper looks like The Promised Land for Obama. There's a large black population here, much of it financially secure and materially prosperous. Plenty of young professionals and college students. There's obviously lots of moneyed, educated, and politically savvy whites here as well, which is another key demographic. It looks like a slam dunk.

In any event, I'll be out there on the grind this weekend, assisting the campaign with canvassing, phone banks, etc. I'm pretty excited about this, but don't expect me to blog about my experience. AverageSisterInLaw says the campaign strictly prohibits volunteers from such activity. I'll honor the B-Code and comply.

I'm also looking forward to seeing full scale Presidential level pandering firsthand. Since my state has never really mattered, we usually don't get the first class treatment around here with rallies, door-to-door stumping, bad TV commercials, and contrived photo ops. I'll finally know what it feels like to be an Iowan. Uhh, sorta.

Question: What level of local campaigning did you see/have you seen in your home state?

Next Stop, The Potomac Primary [CBS]

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