Can Dean Survive?

Posted 11:45pm January 28

by Aaron Huertas
U-WIRE Washington Bureau

In an effort to bounce back from a worse than expected third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, former Vermont governor Howard Dean finished second in the New Hampshire Primary Tuesday.
Dean portrayed the primary results as a recovery from his showing in Iowa.

“We’re not the frontrunner any more,” Dean said on Larry King Live on CNN, “but I’m still determined to change the country.” Dean told a crowd of supporters after the primary, “The people of New Hampshire have allowed our campaign to regain its momentum.”

Dean finished with 26 percent of the vote, 13 percent behind Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. A survey done by the American Research Group in early December showed that Dean held a substantial lead in New Hampshire, with 45 percent of respondents saying they supported Dean. Kerry was second in the survey with only 13 percent.

Before the Iowa Caucuses, Dean had a commanding lead over the other Democrats in the field in money, organization and popularity in polls.During the “pre-primary” — the period before any votes are cast in the presidential nomination process — Dean was portrayed as a frontrunner that had the nomination locked up.

Dean started his campaign in relative obscurity, but made a name for himself through his outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq. As his poll numbers climbed, Dean’s fundraising capabilities also garnered a great amount of media attention. Dean raised over $10 million by summer of last year, with many of the contributions coming from small internet donations. He also used the internet to organize supporters. Through the Web site, people were encouraged to hold meetings in support of Dean. Many of the other candidates followed suit and have been using the Internet to raise money and organize supporters.

Dean also received a major endorsement from former Vice-President Al Gore in early December. In a CNN/Time poll conducted in early January Dean came in at 22 percent against the full field of Democratic presidential candidates, 10 percent ahead of his nearest rival. In a head-to-head match up, Dean was favored over Kerry by 51 percent to 29 percent.

In Iowa, however, the tables in the race were dramatically turned as voters defied media expectation in the days leading up to the caucus. Kerry and North Carolina Senator John Edwards, two candidates who had been written off as losers in the weeks prior to the caucus, finished with 38 percent and 32 percent of the vote, respectively. Dean finished a distant third with only 18 percent of the vote.

Dean’s passionate concession speech after the results from Iowa came in was greatly derided in the media. Some pundits labeled Dean’s yelp at the end of the speech “the scream heard round the world.” In an effort to stymie criticism surrounding his demeanor during the speech, Dean appeared on ABC’s Primetime Thursday with his wife Judith. He told Diane Sawyer the speech was given to 3,000 supporters whose spirits he wanted to boost after the unexpected defeat.

“I’m not apologetic because I was giving everything to people who gave everything to me,” he said.

The candidates are moving on to a set of seven contests next week: Primaries in Missouri, Oklahoma, Arizona, Delaware and South Carolina and party caucuses in North Dakota and New Mexico. The candidates will campaign in these states not only to secure delegates for the Democratic National Convention, but also to prove that they have the support of Democrats nationwide and will be able to stay in the race. These contests will prove if Dean can stay alive in the contest for his party’s nomination.

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