Thoughts about the 2008 Presidential race – Florida aftermath

January 29, 2008

Now that the Florida votes have been cast, it’s worth noticing some things that have become apparent:
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Democrats

Hillary Clinton’s victory, while (as of the time of this writing) a respectable 50-33% over Barack Obama, was not impressive when you consider that Democrats ignored Florida due to its audacity to hold a primary before it was “supposed to.” She did pile up absolute majorities in counties with significant numbers of Hispanics and retirees. Still, despite the lack of campaigning, Barack Obama did well with blacks and university liberals and carried eight counties. John Edwards received pluralities in 11 small rural counties.

As mentioned before, the “Hillarycratic” coalition of “downscale” Democrats, older women, organizational Democrats, and Hispanics delivered for her again. However, Senator Teddy Kennedy’s recent wholehearted endorsement of Barack Obama, if coupled with energetic campaigning, could make “Super Duper Tuesday” states like California and New Jersey competitive. John Edwards remains an “also ran”, and questions remain as to how much longer he plans to campaign, as he has not topped 17% of the vote in any primary or caucus state that has voted so far.

One cautionary note for Republicans: despite a lack of a campaign from the Democratic nominees in this “forbidden primary”, an impressive 1.7 million Democrats voted, which not only represents a 41% voter turnout, but represents a turnout volume of more than double that of the 2004 Democratic primary turnout.

While 21 states vote on “Super Duper Tuesday”, there are also primaries/caucuses in eight additional states next month. Currently, Hillary maintains a comfortable, but not overwhelming, majority with 249 delegates to Barack Obama’s 179 delegates (2,025 delegates are required for the nomination) and John Edwards’ 58 delegates – below is a graphical map of where each candidate has won. At this stage in the game, Hillary Clinton’s odds of winning the Democratic nomination are 3:2 favorable.

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m294/PhotoMan1969/usamapDems.gif

Republicans

Florida for the first time establishes John McCain as the Republican front-runner. His 36-31% victory was impressive in its broad base, with strong performances with retirees, evangelicals, military voters, and anti communist Cuban Hispanic voters in South Florida. He carried 47 of 67 counties. Romney carried 16 counties with a strong suburban/economic conservative presence. Mike Huckabee carried four small rural counties. But despite his extensive campaigning here, Rudy Giuliani finished a poor third with 15% of the vote and was unable to carry a single county.

Essentially, the contest becomes a McCain/Romney competition. Mike Huckabee may carry a few scattered states like Alabama, Arkansas, and Oklahoma on “Super Duper Tuesday”, and Mitt Romney may win a few random states as well, but John McCain’s emerging broad based support makes him tough to beat, especially since he will receive an additional assist from Rudy Giuliani’s expected withdrawal and endorsement of McCain. This endorsement will undoubtedly help McCain in states like California, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York which vote in “Super Duper Tuesday.” Plus, McCain has an additional advantage: despite grumblings from talk radio and from strong conservatives about his voting record, he has been steadfast in his convictions. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has not played to his strength as a successful businessman who has turned around failing companies. Instead, he has spent valuable time trying to “out conservative” his opponents.

The Republican turnout was impressive – in this contested race, 1.9 million Republicans voted, which not only represents a 50% voter turnout, but represents a turnout volume nearly three times that of the last contested Republican primary in 2000.

While 22 states vote before or during “Super Duper Tuesday”, there are also primaries/caucuses in six additional states next month (this includes Louisiana’s February 9 primary). With John McCain’s victory in the “winner take all” state of Florida, he now has a 93-59 lead over Mitt Romney. Mike Huckabee has 40 delegates, Ron Paul has won four delegates, and Rudy Giuliani has a single delegate (1,191 delegates are required for the nomination). Below is a graphical map of where each candidate has won.

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m294/PhotoMan1969/usamapRep-1.gif

At this stage in the game, John McCain has a 55% chance of winning the Republican nomination.

Conclusion

The Florida contest sets the state for a McCain/Romney contest on the Republican side, and a Hillary/Obama contest on the Democratic side. There will be some benefit to McCain of the Rudy Giuliani endorsement, while the Kennedy endorsement of Obama gives him a valuable assist as well.

Pickaway County pushes college as key to good jobs. here ohio christian university

The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, OH) August 31, 2006 Byline: Kelly Hassett Aug. 31–Pickaway County Commissioner Ula Jean Metzler knows firsthand what a difference a college education makes.

Metzler and her brother were the first ones in her family to go to college, and she wants others to have the opportunities a post-high-school degree offers.

She and other county officials have teamed up with Columbus State Community College and Ohio University to bring college courses to Pickaway County, where only 11 percent of residents 25 or older have a bachelor’s degree. The statewide number is just over 21 percent.

Commissioners voted this year to form a committee to study the idea, and representatives from the two schools held an open house at Teays Valley High School in August for residents who were interested in pursuing higher education.

Pickaway County historically relied on a strong manufacturing base to sustain its economic health.

But the area has lost about 2,000 jobs from plant closings and layoffs since 2001. Now officials are trying to lure jobs and schools in their place.

The initiative involves hiring an education-improvement coordinator in the fall to go into local schools and counsel students on the benefits of college.

Metzler said that culturally in Pickaway County some families haven’t placed a priority on going to a university because manufacturing jobs at one point paid well.

Counseling students as young as middle-school age — and their parents — is crucial to breaking that cycle, she said.

Equally important is bringing in new, higher paying jobs so people won’t have to leave Pickaway County to put their degree to use, Metzler said.

Residents could start as early as January with general-education courses from Columbus State, which offers an associate’s degree, said Provost Kay Adkins.

College officials plan to meet with business leaders for their input on technical courses, and with county residents to gauge their interests, she said. ohiochristianuniversitynow.net ohio christian university

Ohio Christian University, formerly Circleville Bible College, is the only school based in Pickaway County. The school currently has about 450 students, according to its Web site.

Just getting to class is a major challenge for many Ohioans who don’t live near a college campus, said David Descutner, dean of University College and associate provost for undergraduate studies at Ohio University.

Bringing courses to residents, whether for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, often eases most of the frustration for people who want to advance, Descutner said.

“Then they find out, ‘I can do this work,’ ” he said.

khassett@dispatch.com Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.


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