Author: Ben Dalgetty
Tuesday, February 5 marked the closest America has ever come to a national primary and provided an overabundance of material for political commentators and pundits to analyze. For the Republican Party, Super Tuesday issued a clear mandate for Senator John McCain, who won nine of the twenty-one states up for grab. Comparatively, Mike Huckabee won five states and Mitt Romney captured seven states before announcing the suspension of his campaign on February 7. The momentum for McCain came from the fact that he won big states including California and New York. He ended the night with 602 delegates, while Romney won 201 and Huckabee 152.
On the Democratic front, Senator Barack Obama won 13 of the 21 states up for grabs with Senator Hillary Clinton claiming victory in the remaining eight. However, despite Obama’s higher state count, Clinton still ended the night with 790 delegates compared to Obama’s 767 due to her victory in large states such as California and New York. As of Monday night, the New Mexico Democratic Caucus was still indeterminate and provisional ballots were still being counted. According to CNN, Clinton was leading by just over 1,000 votes, but it was still too close to be called without the provisional ballots.
Obama also won the primary in Louisiana and caucuses in both Nebraska and Washington on February 9. Obama followed these victories with a win in the Maine caucus on February 10. Huckabee won the Kansas caucus and the Louisiana primary whereas McCain won the state of Washington. McCain currently enjoys a commanding lead over Huckabee, with 723 delegates compared to Huckabee’s 217. McCain now has over half of the 1,191 delegates required to secure the nomination and Huckabee is mathematically unable to win. The Democratic field is much closer and major news networks, depending on the formula they used, have projected different delegate counts for each candidate. Obama enjoys a slight lead in regular delegates won from state primaries and caucuses, whereas Clinton has a slight lead among super delegates, a voting block of party leaders and elected representatives.
To all indicators, Obama has shifted the momentum of this campaign in his favor, both in terms of fundraising and votes. After February 5, the final leg of primary fundraising began with Clinton loaning $5 million of her own money to her presidential campaign. In response to this, Obama issued a fundraising challenge to his supporters, which generated over $7.5 million, mostly from small individual donors. On Tuesday, February 12, Democrats and Republicans competed in Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.
On February 10, Clinton’s Campaign Manager Patti Solis Doyle stepped down and was replaced by Maggie Williams, Clinton’s chief of staff during her tenure as first lady. “[She] has done an extraordinary job in getting us to this point-within reach of the nomination,” Clinton said. The campaign also stated that she would remain as a senior advisor. Solis told ABC News that she was having difficulty balancing her job commitments with those of her family, which includes two kids.
The NY Times reported in November 2006 that “a close friend of Clinton, Maggie Williams, received a $37,500 consulting fee, paid to her firm, Griffin Williams Critical Point Management, at the end of July. Asked what the payment was for, Clinton’s campaign aides checked and subsequently responded that the payment had been a mistake. They said it should have been for less than $5,000 to reimburse Williams, who served as chief of staff to Mrs. Clinton in the White House, for travel costs. They said Williams would return the extra money.” This controversy has received major news network press coverage since Williams was promoted to campaign manager and adds to controversy already existing concerning Clinton’s campaign finances.
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