Democratic Candidate Analysis Update

Thursday, 25 September 2003, 19:55 | Category : Politics
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Gen. Wesley Clark’s formal entry has once again scrambled the race for the Democratic nomination. I think the candidates hurt the most are John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, and Howard Dean. But I think it may alter the dynamics more than that.

Howard Dean: He’s been making a strong showing in Iowa, and leading in New Hampshire, much to John Kerry’s chagrin. But some of his appeal was being the “outside Washington” candidate, and now Wesley Clark is challenging for some of those people. There’s also the Dean had become the target for the rest of the Democratic campaigns; now Clark will draw some of that attention. And Clark is making a hard play for the anti-war faction. Given that many within the Democratic establishment want an alternative to Dean, Clark is a major problem for Howard Dean. Odds 10-1

John Kerry: His big play was as a defense Democrat. Clark just trumped him. Kerry’s sparked no excitement among any group of likely Democratic voters, and is now faced with a potential 3rd place finish in New Hampshire. He’s the big loser with Clark’s entry. Odds: 20-1

John Edwards: He’s has surprisingly picked up the pace a notch, and while he’s not a hot property, and still hanging around 5-8% in most polls, the fact that he isn’t droping any longer counts for something. Odds: 50-1

Richard Gephardt: I’ve got this feeling that Gephardt may actually pick up some speed. With Clark breaking the Dean fascination, and Bush looking possibly beatable, hard-core Democratic issues may begin to rise in the minds of the voters, and Gephardt is a clear winner when that happens. Odds: 15-1

Bob Graham: It’s getting harder to see Graham as a viable candidate. Not because of anything he’s done or not done, but because his strength in the South, which was realistically his only hope, will now be divided with Clark and Edwards. And Clark will appear as a better VP possibility, too. Odds: 75-1.

Joe Lieberman: Lieberman is fading fast. His positions aren’t playing well among Iowans, New Hampshire is probably out, and he won’t get much support in South Carolina. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him officially out of the race by March. Odds: 25-1

Wesley Clark: It’s still impossible to say whether his support is deep-seated, or just “new guy” stuff. He needs to avoid a major mis-step and fend off attacks from other candidates while his campaign jells. But he already seems to have a legitimacy that the other candidates have thus far lacked. Odds 12-1

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