Thursday, February 7, 2008

Pennsylvania Democratic Primary Crucial?

The tight race for the Democratic nomination for president between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama could mean an historic event for Pennsylvania - a relevant presidential primary election.
Pennsylvania may hold a significant number of Democratic delegates at 188 - but its late April 22nd primary usually means the nomination is already decided.

Muhlenberg College Political Science Professor Chris Borick says this could be the year that changes that trend.

"In essence we're inching towards relevancy, something I would have said seemed impossible last fall or even a few months ago. But the way this thing has been breaking, it seems that we're increasingly becoming a place that the candidates might have to turn to as we move into the later spring."

In terms of which way the state might lean, Franklin and Marshall College political scientist Terry Madonna said although the most recent Pennsylvania polls showed Clinton way ahead, that could change.

"My best guess is that would close dramatically should they begin to campaign in the state and run television commercials, because that's been pretty much true in every state where the race has been joined by the two candidates."

Madonna says if the race is still tight after the Texas and Ohio primaries on March 4th, the candidates would likely spend much of the following six weeks campaigning in the Commonwealth. Voters in Pennsylvania's Democratic Primary will select 103 of the state's 188 delegates. 27 are super delegates including the governor and members of the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation. The final 58 delegates will be chosen at the State's Democratic meeting June 6th and 7th.

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