Field narrows as primaries continue

By Matt Campbell
February 19, 2004

Chuck Kennedy/KRT

The ticket for the Democratic nomination for president is closing in on one person, Massachusetts senator John Kerry. Others still competing for the Democratic nomination to challenge the Republican incumbent George W. Bush are former governor of Vermont Howard Dean; North Carolina senator John Edwards; Ohio senator Dennis Kucinich; and civil rights activist Al Sharpton.

Primaries and caucuses go from January until the July Democratic nominating convention. The candidates will then campaign until the presidential election on Nov. 2, 2004. State by state, Democratic candidates vie for the Democratic nomination by campaigning across the country to win delegate votes. Primaries and caucuses operate on a system where citizens do not vote for candidates but they vote for delegates associated with those candidates. Each state has a certain number of delegates who each cast one vote for a candidate. The goal for the candidates is the magic number of 2,161. This number is central because it would give a candidate the majority of delegate votes and the party nomination for presidency.

The democratic delegate scorecard shapes up with Kerry out in front with 578 votes. Rounding out the scorecard are Dean with 188 votes, Edwards with 166 votes, Sharpton with 16 votes, and Kucinich with 2 votes.

Recently, Wesley Clark dropped out of the presidential race with 68 votes and immediately endorsed Kerry for the democratic nomination. All candidates seek endorsements to rally support for their campaign.

Kerry has won 14 out of 16 primaries and caucuses giving him the clear lead; however hopefuls such as Dean still continue their campaign as there are still enough votes to bring the democratic nomination into a tighter race. While Kerry, Clark and Edwards made appearances Tuesday, Feb. 10 at polling places in Virginia and Tennessee, Dean focused his campaign on Wisconsin. Wisconsin has now become a vital state for all the candidates. A win in Wisconsin would not give Kerry the magic number of votes needed to clinch the nomination; however it would put him at near unbeatable odds. Dean has wavered on whether he will continue to campaign if he should lose in Wisconsin. There are 72 delegate votes in the badger state which, if Kerry should lose would make the race still up for grabs.

As Kerry’s lead grows as each state votes, his focus has shifted to Bush.

“George Bush’s vision does not live up to the America I enlisted in the Navy to defend, the America I have fought for in the Senate and the America that I hope to lead as president,” Kerry said.

July 26-29 is the date set for the democratic national convention. Delegates from all states will converge to vote on the candidates still running for the party nomination. The first candidate to reach the majority of votes will compete with Bush and other party nominations for the presidency.

Posted to the web by Angelina Wagner

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