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US Election News

The United States presidential election of 2008, scheduled to be held on November 4, 2008, will be the 56th consecutive
quadrennial election for president and vice president of the United States. This presidential election schedule coincides
with the 2008 Senate elections, House of Representatives elections, and gubernatorial elections, as well as many state and
local elections.

Under Article Two of the United States Constitution, as amended by the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution,
an Electoral College will elect the president. These electors are appointed by mechanisms chosen by each state's legislature
(prevailingly, by popular vote of the voters of each state). The individual who receives a majority of votes for president —
270 votes are needed for a majority — will be the president-elect of the United States; and the individual who receives a
majority of electoral votes for vice president will be the vice president-elect of the United States. If no presidential
candidate receives a majority in the Electoral College, then the president-elect will be selected by a vote of the House of
Representatives, with each state receiving a single vote. If no vice presidential candidate receives a majority, then the
vice president-elect will be selected by a vote of the Senate. Although rare, these latter scenarios have occurred twice in
America's history, in 1825 and 1837.

As in the 2004 presidential election, the allocation of electoral votes to each state will be partially based on the 2000
Census. The president-elect and vice president-elect are scheduled to be inaugurated on January 20, 2009.

2008 presidential election characteristics

First election without incumbents in the primaries since 1928
When a United States President leaves office, his vice president is usually considered a leading candidate and likely nominee
to succeed him. In 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney announced that he would never run for president, a statement he
reiterated in 2004. While appearing on Fox News Sunday, Cheney stated: "I will say just as hard as I possibly know how to
say... If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve."[1] The 2008 election therefore marks the first time since
the 1928 election in which there is neither an incumbent president nor an incumbent vice president running for their party's
nomination in the presidential election.[2] The 1952 election was the last time neither the incumbent president nor incumbent
vice president ran in the general election, after President Harry S. Truman bowed out following his loss in the New Hampshire
primary and Vice President Alben Barkley then sought but failed to win the Democratic nomination.[3] (Truman's name was on
the New Hampshire primary ballot but he did not campaign. He lost to Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver and formally withdrew
his name from consideration.) Also, Cheney's decision marks the first time since 1928 that neither an incumbent president nor
vice president has even sought his party's nomination.

In the three most recent presidential administrations featuring an outgoing two-term president — those of Eisenhower, Reagan,
and Clinton — the incumbent vice president has immediately thereafter run for president. (Richard Nixon lost the 1960
election, George H. W. Bush won the 1988 election, and Al Gore lost the 2000 election.)[4][5]

In the 1968 election, Lyndon B. Johnson initially decided to seek re-election. He entered the New Hampshire primary and won.
However, he had a national poll conducted, which yielded results not in his favor. In a nationally televised speech, Johnson
announced to the public that he would not seek re-election. Incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey ran instead and was the
eventual Democratic Party nominee.

During this period, several former vice presidents have sought the office of president as non-incumbents. Henry A. Wallace
was the Progressive Party nominee in 1948. Nixon was elected in 1968. Walter Mondale received his party's nomination in 1984.
Dan Quayle was unsuccessful in bids for nomination in 1996 and 2000.[5]

The long campaign
The 2008 nomination campaign can be divided into four phases: the pre-primary campaign, January, Super Tuesday, and the

The pre-primary campaign
"Front runner" status is dependent on the news agency reporting, but by October 2007, the consensus listed about six
candidates as leading the pack. For example, CNN listed Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Rudolph Giuliani, Fred Thompson,
Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney as the front runners. The Washington Post listed Clinton, Edwards and Obama as the Democratic
frontrunners, "leading in polls and fundraising and well ahead of the other major candidates".[6] MSNBC's Chuck Todd
christened Giuliani and John McCain the Republican front runners after the second Republican presidential debate.[7]

Three candidates, Clinton, Obama, and Romney, raised over $20 million in the first three months of 2007, and three others,
Edwards, Giuliani, and McCain, raised over $12 million, the next closest candidate was Bill Richardson, who raised over $6
million.[8] In the third quarter of 2007, the top four GOP fund raisers were Romney, Giuliani, Thompson, and Paul.[9] Paul
set the GOP record for the largest online single day fund raising on November 5, 2007.[10][11] Hillary Clinton set the
Democratic record for largest single day fund raising on June 30, 2007.[12]

The primaries
Main articles: Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008 and Republican Party (United States)
presidential primaries, 2008
Delegates to national party conventions are selected through direct primary elections, state caucuses, and state conventions.
The process continues through June, but in previous cycles, the Democratic and Republican candidates were effectively chosen
by the March primaries. This is due to winning candidates collecting a majority of committed delegates to win their party's
nomination. Most third parties select delegates to their national conventions through state conventions.

Both parties have adopted rules to prevent early primaries and have acted to strip some or all delegates from states that
have disobeyed. Several, most notably Florida and Michigan, did so, setting up possible credentials fights at the conventions
late in the summer.

Around the first of the year, the longstanding consensus that the so-called "chattering classes" had agreed to began to fall
apart. Support for Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama began rising in the polls, passing longtime front runners Romney and
Clinton for first place in Iowa, and suddenly John McCain displaced Rudy Guiliani and Romney as the front-runner in New
Hampshire. When Iowa held its caucuses at last, the two upstart campaigns were triumphant.

While Huckabee had little money and was hoping for a third place finish, Obama was suddenly the new front runner in New
Hampshire and the Clinton Campaign was for all appearances experiencing a meltdown. In one of those moments which seem
trivial at the time but are in retrospect vastly important, Mrs. Clinton shed tears in a public interview broadcast live on
TV.[13] By the end of the day, Hillary won the primary by a couple of points and embarrassing the pollsters, who had her as
much as twelve points behind on the day of the primary itself. What was more remarkable was the victory of John McCain, who
had been written off by the pundits and was in single digits less than a month before.

With the Republicans stripping Michigan and Florida of half their delegates, the Republican race was based there, while the
Democrats focused on Nevada and South Carolina, which were given special permission to have early contests. In South Carolina
Obama got 55% of the vote. Meanwhile, McCain managed a small victory in South Carolina, setting him up for a larger and more
important victory in Florida soon after.

On February 3 in UCLA campus, celebrities, Oprah Winfrey, Caroline Kennedy and Stevie Wonder among others made appearance to
show support for Barack Obama in a televised rally led by Michelle Obama.[14] Though Obama's poll numbers increased after
this event, putting him only 2% behind Clinton, he ended up losing California by 10%. Analysts cited surprisingly large
Latino turnout as the deciding factor.[15]

By February 4, it was apparent that McCain might be able to wrap up the nomination quickly while the 22 primaries and
caucuses on the Democratic side might lead to a virtual tie in the delegate count, which to some extent is what happened.

Super Tuesday: On February 5, 2008, the largest-ever simultaneous number of state U.S. presidential primary elections was
held.[16] Twenty-four states and American Samoa held either caucuses or primary elections for one or both parties on this
date, leaving the Democrats in a virtual tie, and John McCain just short of clinching the Republican nod.[17]

Louisiana and Washington voted for both parties on February 9, while Nebraska and the Virgin Islands vote for the Democrats
and Kansas for the Republicans. Obama swept all four Democratic contests, as well as the Maine caucuses the next day,[18] and
Huckabee also came out on top in Kansas, winning by an even greater percentage. The District of Columbia, Maryland and
Virginia voted for both parties on February 12 in the so-called Potomac Primary. Obama won all three for the Democrats
(giving him eight consecutive victories after Super Tuesday) and McCain took all three for the Republicans.

Hawaii and Wisconsin are the last two states that will vote for the Democrats in February, on the 19th. Guam votes for the
Republicans on February 16, while Wisconsin and Washington (primary) vote for the Republicans on February 19. The Virgin
Islands and Puerto Rico will close out February for the Republicans, on the 23rd and 24th.

For the Republicans, American Samoa will vote on March 1. March 4 has been dubbed by some as this years' Mini Tuesday[2][3],
when the delegate-rich states of Texas and Ohio, along with Rhode Island and Vermont, vote for both parties. Wyoming then
votes for the Democrats on March 8, with Mississipi then voting on March 11.

Final primaries and caucuses
Only one state votes in April: Pennsylvania, which will hold a primary for both parties on April 22. Indiana and North
Carolina have primaries on May 6. Nebraska's Republican primary will be on May 13, as will the West Virginia primary for
Democrats. Kentucky and Oregon hold primaries for both parties on May 20. Idaho votes for Republicans only on May 27. The
primary season ends in June, with contests on June 3 in New Mexico (Republican), Montana (Democratic), and South Dakota (both
parties). The final primary will be on June 7th in Puerto Rico for the Democrats.

Later events
April 2008: 2008 Constitution Party National Convention, to be held in Kansas City, Missouri.
May 23-26, 2008: 2008 Libertarian National Convention, to be held in Denver, Colorado.
July 10-13, 2008: Green Party National Convention, to be held in Chicago, Illinois.
August 25-28, 2008: 2008 Democratic National Convention, to be held in Denver, Colorado.
September 1-4, 2008: 2008 Republican National Convention, to be held in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
November 4, 2008: All 50 states and the District of Columbia will hold elections to select members of the Electoral College.
December 15, 2008: Members of the U.S. Electoral College meet in each state to cast their votes for President and Vice
January 6, 2009: Electoral votes officially tallied before both Houses of Congress. If a member of Congress wishes to object
to the certification of a state's electoral votes as was originally reported on Election Night, he or she must do so at this
point, even if recounts or lawsuits to require a recount are already in progress.
January 20, 2009: Inauguration Day.

Candidates and potential candidates

Politicians with ambition have begun to express formally their desire for the presidency in the form of "exploratory
committees," which allow the hopeful to raise money and travel without having to follow certain financial restrictions
mandated by federal law. With official events, such as debates and candidate forums, beginning as early as February 2007, the
status of a candidate will be based on whether or not he or she is invited. Several minor candidates in the past have tried
to litigate their way in, generating some publicity but little public support.

Politicians who are considered "relevant" qualify for listing in the "Potential candidates" sections. Candidates marked with
a † have not registered with the Federal Election Commission for a presidential campaign.

Major parties

Democratic Party

Candidates for the Democratic Party:

Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senator from New York and former First Lady.

Mike Gravel, former U.S. Senator from Alaska.

Barack Obama, U.S. Senator from Illinois, and former Illinois State Senator.

Withdrawn candidates:

Tom Vilsack, former Governor of Iowa, a presidential candidate from November 30, 2006 to February 23, 2007, withdrew from
seeking the Democratic nomination due to a lack of funds and endorsed Senator Clinton.[21]
Joe Biden, U.S. Senator of Delaware, withdrew on January 3, 2008 after the Iowa Caucuses due to lack of support.
Christopher Dodd, U.S. Senator of Connecticut, withdrew on January 3, 2008 after the Iowa Caucuses due to lack of support.
Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, withdrew after the New Hampshire Primaries.
Dennis Kucinich, U.S. Congressman of Ohio, withdrew on January 25 to focus on re-election to his congressional seat.[22]
John Edwards, former U.S. Senator from North Carolina and 2004 Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, announced his
withdrawal on January 30.

2008 Democratic presidential primaries delegate count As of February 13, 2008 Candidate Actual pledged delegates1
(1,813 of 3,253 total) Predicted
pledged delegates2
(2,099 of 3,253 total) Estimated
(391 of 796 total) Estimated total delegates2
(2,490 of 4,049 total;
2,025 needed to win)
Hillary Rodham Clinton 885 977 234 1,211
Mike Gravel - - - -
Barack Obama 916 1,096 157 1,253
John Edwards 12 26 - 26
Dennis Kucinich - - - -
Bill Richardson - - - -
Joe Biden - - - -
Chris Dodd - - - -
Color key: 1st place 2nd place 3rd place 4th place Candidate has

Republican Party

Candidates for the Republican Party:

Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas

Alan Keyes, former Ambassador to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

John McCain, U.S. Senator from Arizona

Ron Paul, U.S. Representative from Texas and 1988 Libertarian Presidential nominee.

Withdrawn candidates:

Jim Gilmore, former Governor of Virginia, a presidential candidate from December 19, 2006 to July 14, 2007, withdrew from
seeking the Republican nomination, citing fundraising problems.[25]
Tommy Thompson, former Governor of Wisconsin and former Secretary of Health and Human Services, a presidential candidate from
April 1, 2007 to August 12, 2007, withdrew from seeking the Republican nomination, citing a poor showing in the Ames Straw
Poll held on August 11, and endorsed Rudy Giuliani.[26]
Sam Brownback, U.S. Senator from Kansas, a presidential candidate from January 20, 2007 to October 19, 2007, withdrew from
seeking the Republican nomination, citing poor fundraising.[27] He later endorsed John McCain for President.[28]
John H. Cox, a lawyer, accountant, businessman, and broadcaster, was the first Republican to formally seek the party's 2008
nomination for president, but dropped out of the race in December 2007.[29]
Tom Tancredo, U.S. Representative from Colorado, a presidential candidate from April 2, 2007 to December 20, 2007, withdrew
from seeking the Republican nomination. After announcing that he was ending his campaign, Tancredo endorsed Republican
presidential candidate Mitt Romney.[30]
Duncan Hunter, a California U.S. Representative, dropped out on January 19 after the Nevada caucus due to a lack of support.
He has since then endorsed Mike Huckabee.[31]
Fred Thompson, former U.S. Senator from Tennessee, dropped out on January 22.[32] The Thompson campaign confirmed that he
would not be endorsing any candidates.[33] On February 8, 2008, however, Thompson endorsed John McCain.[34]
Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, announced his withdrawal on January 30, after the Florida primary, and endorsed
John McCain.[35]
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, announced the suspension of his presidential campaign on February 7.[36]
Romney officially withdrew February 14, upon his endorsement of McCain.[37]
2008 Republican presidential primaries delegate count
As of February 14, 2008 Candidates Actual
pledged delegates1
(1,150 of 1,917) Estimated total delegates2
(1,370 of 2,380;
1,191 needed to win)
Mike Huckabee 198 240
John McCain 808 825
Ron Paul 5 14
Alan Keyes 0 3 0 3
Mitt Romney 139 291
This box: view • talk • edit Color key: 1st place 2nd place 3rd place 4th place Campaign

Constitution Party
Candidates for the Constitution Party:

Bryan Malatesta† of Texas
Diane Beall Templin† of California

Green Party
Candidates for the Green Party (Official Press Release):

Cynthia McKinney, former Georgia Congresswoman

Kat Swift of Texas, co-chair of Texas Green Party

Jesse Johnson† of West Virginia, former Mountain Party candidate for US Senate and Governor of West Virginia
Kent Mesplay of California, California Delegate to the Green National Committee

Libertarian Party
Candidates for the Libertarian Party:

Daniel Imperato, an entrepreneur from Florida

Steve Kubby, an author, political activist, cannabis consultant from California

Wayne Allyn Root, an author, CEO, TV celebrity and producer from Las Vegas

Bob Jackson of Michigan
Mike Jingozian of Oregon
Alden Link of New York.
George Phillies of Massachusetts
Christine Smith of Colorado

Prohibition Party
The Prohibition Party nominated Gene Amondson† at its national convention on September 13, 2007. Leroy Pletten of Michigan is
his running mate.[42]

Socialist Party USA
The Socialist Party USA nominated Brian Moore of Florida for president, and Stewart Alexander of California for
vice-president, at its national convention, October 19-21, 2007.[43]

Socialist Workers Party
The Socialist Workers Party nominated Róger Calero for president, and Alyson Kennedy for vice-president.[44]

See Independant U.S. presidential candidates, 2008
Draft candidates

Michael Bloomberg, New York City mayor.[45][46][47]

Possible electoral college changes

National Popular Vote Interstate Compact
Further information: National Popular Vote Interstate Compact
The Compact, if passed by states representing a controlling majority of the electoral college, would require states cast
their electoral votes for the national popular winner, essentially shifting the election to a popular vote. As of January 13,
2008, Maryland and New Jersey have enacted the law.[48]

District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act
In 2007, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia) introduced the "DC House Voting Rights Act"[49] in the
United States House of Representatives. If enacted, the act would have the effect of increasing the size of the electoral
college by one. The bill's primary purpose is to give House representation to the District of Columbia, alongside an
additional electoral college vote award to Utah in order to balance the addition. The effect is only valid until the next
census, when the extra seat will be reapportioned like all other seats. The likely outcome of the change, if enacted, on the
2008 presidential election would be to give a +1 advantage to the Republican candidate: Utah has not been carried by a
Democratic presidential candidate since 1964, and in the most recent election gave the Republican 71% of the vote. Even
though the size of the electoral college would increase to 539, a candidate would still need 270 electoral votes to win. The
bill as not been brought back up vote discussion since it was nearly clotured in September 2007.

Presidential Election Reform Act (California)
Further information: Presidential Election Reform Act
There was a proposed initiative in the state of California to alter the way the state's electoral votes for president are
distributed among presidential candidates, but the initiative failed to get onto the 2008 ballot.[50]

Potential battleground states

Pundits and political experts have identified certain battleground states where close votes might prove crucial to the
outcome of the election. These states could include, but may not be limited to:

Electoral College votes in parentheses

Potential battleground states (purple). Numbers reflect the amount of electoral votes each state holds. Likely Republican
states are red, likely Democratic states are blue.

Potential battleground states (purple). Numbers reflect the amount of electoral votes each state holds. Likely Republican
states are red, likely Democratic states are blueArkansas: (6) Although a conservative state in the heart of the Bible Belt,
the Democratic Party is a powerful force in Arkansas and Democrats tend to have a comfortable advantage in statewide races.
Presently, the Governor, both U.S. Senators, and three out of four of the Arkansas' House members are Democrats, and
Democrats control the state legislature by a large margin. The Arkansas Democratic Party tends to be more conservative than
the national party, however, and as a result voters there tend to be open to Republican Presidential candidates. Though
favorite son Bill Clinton won Arkansas easily both times he ran, Arkansas gave their electoral votes to Bush in 2000 and 2004
by a fairly large margin. Arkansas has a large African American population, which could favor the Democratic candidate.
Colorado: (9) The Centennial State is holding its second Democratic National Convention in Denver after 100 years. The
election of Ken Salazar, a Hispanic-American to the U.S. Senate; Bill Ritter to the Governorship in 2006 and a U.S. House
seat pick-up in 2006 made it a prized apple for the Democrats, prompting DNC Chairman Howard Dean to claim that the West
holds the key to victory in 2008, which effectively made Denver the location of the Convention. A strong Hispanic-American
concentration and the attention brought to bear on such issues as immigration reform, labor union support and minimum wage
have made this a possible Democratic state. Republicans, however, still claim this state because of their support of gun
rights and their stance on social conservative issues, and pundits have marked Colorado as the initial favorite for the
Republicans.[attribution needed]
Florida: (27) The deciding state in 2000, whose votes went – narrowly and controversially – to George W. Bush. Florida is
situated in the South, which has become a Republican stronghold. Experts agree that the winner of Florida will have a
significant advantage towards advancing to the White House. Florida has trended toward the Republican Party since 2000. For
Democrats, the vote of the elderly is seen as a potential boon, due to the party's traditional stance on Medicare and Social
Security (two key components of winning the elderly vote), while Republicans have an advantage with their stance on tax cuts
and values issues. The Hispanic and African American populations in Florida could also give the Democrats an edge in a close
race. As for Republicans, the business attention of tax cuts and Cuban-American attention has made it a strong contender.
Also, Florida's recently-elected governor, Republican Charlie Crist, has enjoyed high approval ratings and has been mentioned
as a possible vice presidential nominee on the 2008 GOP ticket.
Indiana: (11) Traditionally a Republican stronghold but in 2006, Democrats won three house seats here. Another factor that
may drag down the Republican ticket might be Governor Mitch Daniels, who has become very unpopular in the state. Also in
2006, Democrats gained control of State House. The state has not voted for a Democratic Presidential Nominee since Lyndon
Johnson in 1964, but a poll out by the Indianapolis Star features a generic Democrat leading a generic Republican in the
Presidential election 37%-32%.[51] The poll shows the War in Iraq and the sluggish economy to be the biggest issues among
Hoosiers. Also, the poll found that a Democratic ticket featuring Indiana Senator Evan Bayh would boost the possibility of
Indiana switching alliances.
Iowa: (7) Iowa is a true toss up state; it went for Gore in 2000 and Bush in 2004. In 2006, Democrats retained control of the
Governor's Mansion with the election of Chet Culver and the addition of two U.S. House seats. Also, for the first time in
four decades, Democrats gained complete control of the state legislature, further enhancing the progress of the Democrats.
Still, agriculture policies and conservative values make it a magnet for the Republicans.
Kentucky: (8) With a Democratic pick-up of the Governor's Mansion in November 2007, and a troubled state Republican Party,
Kentucky will be in play. Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher was defeated for re-election on November 6, 2007, and Senators
Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning's approval have dropped recently. McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, is up for
re-election in 2008. Although it went to the Republicans in 2000 and 2004 by strong margins, it was previously won by Bill
Clinton in 1992 and 1996. Pundits have put Kentucky in the Republican column.
Michigan: (17) The Great Lakes State has been a fairly safe bet for the Democrats in recent decades, giving its substantial
electoral votes to Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry. However, with each election, the margin of victory has narrowed,
opening a window for the Republicans. Populism and a historically strong labor movement have dominated the state and given
Democrats an advantage, but Republicans have gained ground in advancing tax cuts and other social issues appealing to "Reagan
Democrats". A population exodus from Democratic Detroit has made the conservative Republican west more influential. Still,
Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm was soundly re-elected in 2006, while presiding over a one-state recession.
Minnesota: (10) Minnesota has been a traditionally Democratic state in recent decades, but in the past two presidential
elections, the elections have been competitive between the GOP and Democratic candidates. The 2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate
election is also stated to be competitive, with Republican Norm Coleman running for re-election and commentator Al Franken
actively seeking the Democratic nomination. The Republicans are holding their National Convention in Saint Paul hoping to
sway the election toward Republicans this time. The last Republican presidential candidate to win in Minnesota was President
Richard Nixon in 1972; since then, it has generally been solid ground for the Democrats. But in 2000 and 2004, the margin of
victory was small, encouraging multiple visits by candidates in both parties. In 2006, however, the Democratic Farmer Labor
Party picked up a house seat and gained 19 legislative seats and six state senate seats.
Missouri: (11) The Show Me State has been long been dubbed the bellwether for the nation because historically it has
correlated very closely with the national Zeitgeist – with the single exception of 1956, Missouri has supported the winner of
every Presidential election since 1904. The home state of President Harry Truman leans slightly Republican, and granted its
11 electoral votes to Bush in both 2000 and 2004. Despite the relative strength of Republicans in this Midwestern state, it
has a strong penchant for advancing populist causes such as stem cell research and universal health care. In 2006, Missouri
elected its first female U.S. Senator in Democrat Claire McCaskill. Moreover, the national mood souring over the war in Iraq
makes this state a strong possibility for the Democrats.
Nevada: (5) Although Nevada has historically leaned Republican, the high concentration of labor unions and Hispanic-American
vote make it a potential battleground state. (Its 2006 Gubernatorial election was particularly competitive, and Republican
Jim Gibbons won by only a slim margin.) The Las Vegas metropolitan area with its dramatic increase in population has become
an attractive destination for Democratic campaign resources, and Republicans are buoyed by the strong disapproval ratings of
Gibbons (29% approval rating as of March 2007) and Bush (34% approval rating as of March 2007).[52] Furthermore, Nevada has,
with the single exception of 1976, been won by the victor of every US Presidential election since 1912, a record which makes
it a secondary bellwether state.
New Hampshire: (4) Once very reliably Republican, New Hampshire became a swing state in the 1990s. Republicans still have
somewhat of an edge in statewide elections, however the Democrats took control of the state legislature and both
Congressional seats in 2006. The New Hampshire Republican Party tends to be more socially liberal than the national party,
and as a result their behavior in national elections is harder to determine. New Hampshire was the only state in the nation
that went for Bush in 2000 and then for Kerry in 2004, although by narrow margins both times.
New Mexico: (5) New Mexico has been long eschewed as a nominal state, but that thinking has changed dramatically. With
elections being heavily contested and victories being decided by two or three states, New Mexico has become one of the
centers of political fighting. In 2000, Gore won by a razor-thin margin and in 2004, Bush won by a small, yet safe margin.
These results have made experts conclude that New Mexico's five electoral votes, even though small in calculation, could tip
the balance. New Mexico's large Hispanic and Native American populations tend to vote Democrat, and could be the key for a
Democratic candidate in a close race. Its penchant for populist streaks have made it an attraction for the Democrats, with
Gov. Bill Richardson joining the crowd for the Democratic nomination, based on the calculation that Democrats need to win
such Western states to advance their path towards succeeding Bush.
Ohio: (20) "I think 2008 is very likely to be a hotly contested race in Ohio," stated Eric Rademacher, director of the
University of Cincinnati's Ohio Poll, for the Cincinnati Enquirer.[53] Its 20 electoral votes were critical to President
Bush's reelection in 2004, and their tally was close enough to be contested. In 2006, Ohio voters elected Democrats Ted
Strickland and Sherrod Brown for Governor and U.S. Senator, respectively.
Oregon: (7) A Democratic-leaning state, with generally strong beliefs in civil liberties and liberal ideology on social
issues. However, the eastern two-thirds of the state often votes Republican, and in 2000 and 2004 George W. Bush carried
every county east of the Cascades. The state has gone to the Democrats from the 1988 election onward.
Pennsylvania: (21) Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro A. Cortés stated on March 17, 2007, that "The
commonwealth’s large number of electoral college votes and diverse population make Pennsylvania a key battleground
state."[54] Pennsylvania has leaned Democratic since 1992, giving its electoral votes to Bill Clinton (1992 and 1996), Gore
(2000) and Kerry (2004). President Bush visited the state more than 40 times during his 2004 campaign.[55]
Tennessee: (11) Tennessee was not expected to be competitive in 2008, but recent polls have shown that Democrats could be
very competitive in the state. And while Tennessee did go to Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, it has not been kind to Democrats
in recent cycles. It went against native son Al Gore in 2000; if Gore had won the state, he would have emerged the victor.
Tennessee joins other Southern states like Kentucky that have not been competitive in recent memory, but in which Democrats
find themselves surprisingly competitive.
Virginia: (13) No Democratic presidential candidate has won Virginia since Lyndon Johnson's landslide victory in 1964, and it
was the only Southern state that went Republican in 1976. Virginia is no longer as reliably Republican as it once was, as
evidenced by Democrat Tim Kaine's victory in 2005 for the Governor's Mansion and Jim Webb's narrow victory in the 2006 Senate
race against incumbent Republican George Allen. Additionally, Northern Virginia, the fastest-growing region in the state,
tends to lean Democratic. Virginia also has a large African American population, which could benefit a Democratic candidate
in a close race. On September 13, 2007, former Virginia governor and Democrat Mark Warner informally announced he will run
for the Senate in 2008 for the seat of retiring Senator John Warner. This notion is supported by a September 2007 Rasmussen
Reports poll in which Mark Warner leads former Republican governor Jim Gilmore 54% to 34% and Republican Congressman Thomas
M. Davis 57% to 30%.
West Virginia: (5) Although registered Democrats in the state outnumber registered Republicans, Bush narrowly won the state
in both the 2000 and 2004 elections with 52% and 56% of the vote respectively. President Clinton won the state in both 1992
and 1996.
Wisconsin: (10) Among the closest states in the nation, Wisconsin very narrowly went to Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004. These
two results were much closer than the results in prior elections, so it could be possible Wisconsin is trending Republican in
presidential elections, though John Kerry won by a slightly larger margin than Gore in 2000.
The potential battleground states listed above control a total of 207 electoral votes. Of the states that are not expected to
be competitive, 148 electoral votes (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana,
Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wyoming) have been expected to
go to the Republican party, while 183 (California, Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland,
Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington) are expected to go to the Democrats. Any of these may
become competitive as the election progresses.

Campaign details


In previous elections Candidates have regularly participated in debates, in some of these candidates have accepted questions
from the audience in a Town Hall forum format. Unique to 2008 is the CNN-YouTube presidential debates in which the
Republicans and Democrats each held debates in which questions came primarily from YouTube viewer submitted videos, with 39
questions asked of the Democrats and 31 of the Republican candidates about divisive issues respective to each party. Some
have argued that it gave better access to candidates from voters in states with late primaries or in states where candidates
are unlikely to visit. Others cited that some questions were frivolous and even others were planted.[56]

Campaign costs
Main article: Fundraising for the 2008 United States presidential election
The reported cost of campaigning for President has increased significantly in recent years. One source reported that if the
costs for both Democratic and Republican campaigns are added together (for the Presidential primary election, general
election, and the political conventions) the costs have more than doubled in only eight years ($448.9 million in 1996, $649.5
million in 2000, and $1.01 billion in 2004). In January 2007, Federal Election Commission Chairman Michael Toner estimated
that the 2008 race will be a $1 billion election, and that to be taken seriously, a candidate needed to raise at least $100
million by the end of 2007.[57]

Although he has said that he will not be running for president, published reports indicate that billionaire and New York City
mayor Michael Bloomberg has been considering a presidential bid with $1 billion of his own fortune to finance it.[58] Should
Bloomberg decide to run as an independent, he would not need to campaign in the primary elections or participate in the
conventions, greatly reducing both the necessary length and cost of his campaign.

With the increase in money, the public financing system funded by the presidential election campaign fund checkoff has not
been used by many candidates. So far, John McCain,[59] Tom Tancredo,[60] John Edwards,[61] Chris Dodd,[62] and Joe Biden[63]
have qualified for and elected to take public funds in the primary. Other major candidates have eschewed the low amount of
spending permitted and have chosen not to participate.

Internet campaigns
Howard Dean collected large contributions via the internet in his 2004 primary run. In 2008 candidates have gone even further
in reaching out to Internet users through their own sites and through sites such as YouTube[64] MySpace,[65] and
Facebook.[65] Republican Ron Paul[66][67] and Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama have been the most active in courting
voters through the Internet.[68] On December 16, 2007, Ron Paul collected more money on a single day through Internet
donations than any presidential candidate in US history with over $6 million.[69][70][71]

Anonymous and semi-anonymous smear campaigns traditionally done with fliers and push calling have also spread to the

Yahoo! Answers has become a platform for an ongoing Q & A process for voters to ask and answer questions posed by
presidential candidates and US voters.[73]

New Hampshire primary controversy
Voter fraud was alleged after the New Hampshire primary revealed that precincts counting ballots by hand produced different
results than precincts which counted ballots electronically.[74] The story initially was only reported online, but was later
acknowledged by mainstream news outlets. Most observers have concluded that demographic trends influence both a community's
means of counting ballots, and which candidates the community is likely to support.[75] A recount was requested and paid for
by Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich and Republican candidate Albert Howard.[76] The Deputy Secretary of State, David
Scanlan, estimated that the Republican recount cost $57,600 and the Democratic recount, with more votes cast, cost

In some of the towns and wards, the vote counts have been identical. Vote count changes have been made in places where voters
did not follow directions and marked ballots that were impossible for the machines to read. The largest example of vote
miscounting was Ward 5 in Manchester, where votes for the top candidates dropped significantly after the recount. Clinton's
total went from 683 to 619, Obama's went from 404 to 365, and other candidates saw similar drops.[78] Excluding the results
of Ward 5 the error rate was less than 1%.[79] The official explanation for the discrepancies in Ward 5, which resulted in
gains of nearly 10% by each of the top candidates, was that a poll worker added the vice presidential and presidential totals
before reporting.[80] These differences did not occur in the GOP recount where the votes for all candidates were exactly the
same except for Mitt Romney who received 1 extra vote.[81] As Howard only received 44 votes, the hefty price tag was paid for
in part by Ron Paul supporters, although Ron Paul did not specifically request the recount.[82]

According to Howard's campaign Web site, some of his primary objectives include banning electronic voting.[83] Quin Monson,
an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at BYU, commented: "There are people that do not trust the
technology. His (Dennis Kucinich's) request for the recount is likely a response to that crowd."

More News About US Elections...
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