North Carolina: Ground Zero for the next Super Tuesday?

Just a few months ago I was complaining about the fact that by the time NC gets their turn during the primary season, that at that point the candidates already had enough delegates for the nomination. While that may be true on the Republican side, things are quite different on the Dem side. Chris Cillizza at the Wapo’s Fix blog speculates that Tuesday May 6th will be the next Super Tuesday (h/t: Betsy Newmark):

All told, there are twelve contests slated between now and then. Ten states will vote as well as Guam and Puerto Rico.

According to our rough back of the envelope calculations (read: do NOT hold us to these), Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) should be favored in five states — Wyoming (March 8), Mississippi (March 11), Oregon (May 20), South Dakota (June 3) and Montana (June 3). Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) likely starts with an edge in Pennsylvania (April 22), West Virginia (May 13) and Kentucky (May 20).

Based on those calculations, the two truest tossups remaining between now and June 7 are North Carolina and Indiana — both of which will hold primaries on May 6. Obama and Clinton are likely to seriously contest each state because, aside from Pennsylvania, they are the biggest delegate prizes left; North Carolina has 115 pledged delegates, while Indiana has 72.

In Indiana, Clinton has the support of home state Sen. Evan Bayh and faces an electorate that looks somewhat like that of Ohio. The state is very white (86 percent, according to the 2000 census) and has a large rural and blue-collar vote — three constituencies that have been very good for Clinton. Of course, Obama has represented Indiana’s next door neighbor in the Senate for the past four years and the state is filled with colleges and universities where Obama should run strongly.

North Carolina — at first glance — might tilt toward Obama. More than one in five Tarheels are black, a voting bloc Obama has dominated ever since the South Carolina primary. North Carolina has large rural areas too, however, and the economy (and the impact on free trade agreements on it) seems likely to be a major issue.

I personally think NC will go for Obama. It’s just a hunch, but at this point, the polls bear me out. Just in the Charlotte area alone I have seen quite a few Obama bumper stickers and campaign signs, and not a single Hillary sign or sticker. I just don’t think the Democrats in this state like Hillary as much as they liked Bubba.

All the same, it’s kinda exciting that NC will likely be playing a key role in selecting a party’s nominee – even though it won’t be the GOP nominee, it’ll still be cool. I’ll be voting in the primary that day, as there are some local races of interest, too (like the primary to choose the nominee for governor). I anticipate also that prior to the primary we’ll be seeing visits to this state from both the candidates, and if so, I will do my best to attend an O-man rally just so I can get a feel for what the Obamessiah crowd is like in person.

Lastly, I leave you with a video clip of the SNL segment done a couple of weeks ago that started the whole media turn around on the scrutinization of BO. It’s a parody of CNN conducting a debate between Senators Clinton and Obama, and how the mediots have been in the tank for the O-man. It’s hilarious. 9 minutes, but worth it:

Enjoy :)

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