Potomac primaries: Obama holds momentum
Clinton's recovery plan counts on the big-state contests on March 4.
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And there may be no relief in sight for his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Rodham Clinton, until March 4, Super Tuesday Junior. Then, the two face off in two big-delegate states – Texas and Ohio – plus Vermont and Rhode Island.
Senator Obama is expected to win Feb. 12 in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, where the demographics work to his advantage – large black populations and sizable pockets of white-collar voters. The Clinton camp is playing down its chances there, as well as in the Feb. 19 contests in Wisconsin and Hawaii.
Aside from Texas and Ohio, where Senator Clinton is strong with the big Hispanic and blue-collar populations, the last fire wall in her "big state" strategy is Pennsylvania, which votes April 22. The question, though, is how momentum-proof her campaign is.
"You get a roll going and all of a sudden those sure-bet states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas don't become sure bets anymore," says Brad Coker, managing partner of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research. "And all [Obama] has to do is breach the wall in one of them, and the flood tide will come roaring through."
The distress in Clinton's campaign is evident. On Sunday, her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, a longtime aide, stepped down and was replaced by Maggie Williams, a former top aide to Clinton from her days as first lady. Ms. Williams joined the campaign as an adviser after Clinton lost the Iowa caucuses, and she is credited with helping the senator add a more inspiring tone to her speeches.
Each is a little over halfway to the 2,025 delegates needed for the nomination, with Clinton at 1,148 and Obama at 1,121, according to CNN. Obama leads among "pledged delegates" – those earned in primaries and caucuses – while Clinton leads among "superdelegates," party leaders and elected officials who can back whomever they want. Behind the scenes, the campaigns are wooing superdelegates as assiduously as they are fighting for voters.