Monday | June 16, 2003
How they can win: Graham
For purposes of this scenario building, I'm assuming all six candidates are running strong, without the presence of a major scandal or foot-in-mouth incident.
This edition features Graham, the longest shot of the "serious" candidates.
As I've mentioned before, the primaries are more an "expectations" game than an actual horse race. Thus, there will be two results that "matter this day -- whoever comes in second, and whoever comes in 4th.
Graham is a late entry to the race and faces steep fundraising problems and a clear charisma issue. This much is clear: Graham must come in 4th or his candidacy is toast. Period.
Coming in fourth, ahead of the other "moderate" candidates (except for Gephardt, whose 1st place finish is a foregone conclusion) would give him a solid financial and momentum boost heading into the first primary in NH.
New Hampshire: 1.27
South Carolina, Delaware, Missouri, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma: 2.2
So this is Graham's big opportunity to take out his opposition in the "moderate" side of the primary. Winning SC, AZ and OK would do the trick. Delaware will go to Dean/Kerry, while MO will go to Gephardt. If Graham wins the three aforementioned states, Edwards, Lieberman and Gephardt are gone.
Michigan, Washington (caucus): 2.7
Virginia, District of Columbia, Tennessee: 2.10
Idaho: 2.24 and Utah: 2.27
It's a tough call, but I think Graham could survive losing these states, though it would obviously be better to win them. On the other hand, a more liberal opponent, like Dean or Kerry, could lose those states with no negative repercussions.
California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawaii, North Dakota, Texas (tentatively), Washington (primary): 3.2
The states here really favor a more liberal candidate, even with the addition of Texas. To win, Graham would have to defy all expectations and take out at least two of the big liberal enclaves -- California or New York -- as well as take the middling states of Ohio, Connecticut, and Minnesota.
If he managed that tall feat, he would win 7 of the 14 states in a decidedly hostile primary day (CA, OH, CT, MN, GA, ND, and TX), maintain competitiveness in delegate counts, and head in tall and strong into the following week's Southern Super Tuesday. Race effectively over.
Bottom line: For Graham to win, everything would have to go right (such as winning California), and nothing can go wrong. It's a tall order for a candidate that has the fight and says the right things, but whose uninspiring campaign style hampers his effort.
From day one (IA) he needs to outpace his "moderate" counterparts. If he falters a single day he's toast. No other serious candidate in this field face this level of pressure. None of the others have such a small margin for error.Posted June 16, 2003 08:50 AM | Comments (41)