Wednesday, January 28, 2004

TPM and TAPPED on NH

From Talking Points Memo, reporting from the Dean election night party site in New Hampshire:

Dean said that New Hampshire had “allowed our camp to regain its momentum” and that “we did what we needed to do tonight.” And I think that’s right. But just barely. I think they’re in desperate shape. And I think they know it.

In isolation, this wasn’t such a bad result. Dean took a heavy blow in Iowa, collapsed in the polls, and then battled his way back to what he rightly called a “solid second.”

But Iowa and New Hampshire were his two best states. And now he’s going into seven states which should all be harder for him to win than these two. Some vastly more difficult.

What this race is now about is whether John Kerry can carry this momentum into the Midwest and the South. If he can — and that’s not at all clear — then it’s over.

From Garance Franke-Ruta at TAPPED:

SECOND THOUGHTS. Hooksett, N.H. — There have been a number of candidates who have lost both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and still won their party’s presidential nomination. But there is no candidate in the modern history of the primaries who has won both Iowa and New Hampshire and lost their party’s nomination.

Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Al Gore all won both Iowa and New Hampshire — Carter did it twice — and now John F. Kerry, the junior senator from Massachusetts, has added his name to that historic list. That puts him in a very competitive position for winning the Democratic nomination. It does not mean he will win the general election; with the exception of Carter in 1976, all those who have racked up the quick dual win have gone on to lose their general election contests.

(Obligatory caveat: that’s a small historical sample size, times change, etc.)

Nonetheless, Dean’s second-place finish in New Hampshire — a state where he held a 20 point lead just over a month ago — casts his candidacy into doubt. Certainly, he has the money to continue. He has raised $1.8 million since losing the Iowa contest, and his supporters may yet redouble their efforts to keep his campaign going. He has staff and operations in all of the seven states that follow New Hampshire on Feb. 3, and will likely be giving New Mexico and Arizona especial attention. “We’re fortunate in that we built a campaign that’s strong in all the February 3 states,” said Dean spokesman Jay Carson shortly after 8 pm Tuesday, right before the cable networks began to annouce Kerry’s win. “Bill Clinton didn’t win until the fifth round of primaries. He had lost 10 primaries before he won, which was Georgia, and we refer to him as president Clinton these days.”

What is clear is that more states may come into play if there’s a split in the primary results on February 3. And Florida has a primary coming up…