Posted 1:49pm January 26
by Nell McGarity
U-WIRE Washington Bureau
Despite Senator John Kerry’s victory in Iowa on Monday, the New Hampshire primary is next week, leaving the bid for the Democratic nominee open to the remaining contenders.
While winning 38 percent of the vote, Kerry, D-Mass., was closely followed by Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., who garnered 32 percent of the vote. Both campaigns had been written off after former Vermont Governor Howard Dean had emerged as the front-runner in the wide field of candidates.
Dean placed a distant third with 18 percent of the vote. Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., came in fourth with 10 percent. He officially dropped out of the race Tuesday.
While the Iowa caucuses served as the first official contest in the quest for the nomination, its importance cannot be fully realized. With Gen. Wesley Clark and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., skipping Iowa to focus their efforts on New Hampshire voters, and Dean still having many supporters there, the nominee is yet to be decided.
“What makes Iowa important is the bounce one gets from it, not the delegates. If Clark, Lieberman, or Dean win New Hampshire, Iowa will be forgotten history,” said Professor Forrest Maltzman, a political science professor at The George Washington University.
Kerry and Edwards’ respective victories over Dean do, however, indicate positive things for their campaigns.
“Winning Iowa requires two things, (a) popular support and (b) the organization necessary to get your supporters out,” said Maltzman. “Clark and Lieberman’s decision to skip Iowa is a wise strategy if they felt that they lacked the ingredients necessary to come in the top three.”
Maltzman points to Clark as the candidate to watch in next Monday’s primary in New Hampshire.
“Over the past few weeks, Clark has been doing very well in New Hampshire. As of [Monday], New Hampshire was a Clark v. Dean battle. Dean’s failure to meet expectations in Iowa is going to help Clark,” said Maltzman.