More primary goodness

Well, I wasn’t too far off with my New Hampshire call. Had I switched Dean and Edwards around, I would have been closer, but oh well.

Given how the campaign has been going so far, I’m not going to hazard a guess just yet. Later, perhaps. But I have a few thoughts on the race now.

Kerry’s the frontrunner now, no question. He won New Hampshire convincingly. He’s running strong in all of the February 3 states, and with Dean choosing to skip them, he’s got one less guy to worry about. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that he’s trying to go for a knockout punch for all of his rivals at once. That’s going to be really difficult to do across the seven states which vote on Tuesday. If he can pull it off, the race is over. But my gut tells me that it won’t happen. He’ll come close, but he’ll fall short.

So. Let’s say he wins only 3 or 4 states on Tuesday. What next?

Well, on February 7, Michigan and Washington vote. At the very least, Dean’s banking on Michigan to see him through, and a victory there would go a long way to revitalizing his campaign, much like Iowa resurrected Kerry’s. The next day, Maine votes–and it could tip to Dean.

Two days later, it’s Tennesee and Virginia’s turn. Depending on how well they’re doing, they could be a prize for Clark or Edwards. Seven days later, on February 17, it’s back to that bastion of liberalism, Wisconsin, where Dean could once again win. And we’ll conclude February with primaries in Idaho and Utah–not exactly places where Kerry would have a lot of support going in.

So, it’s an all or nothing move by Kerry. Sweep on Tuesday, and you’ve locked up the nomination. Fall short, and you’re in for a rocky month.

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