CAMPEL-L: Prez 2000 - New Primary, etc.

Fri Oct 2 23:44:09 PDT 1998

Another reality check about the real forthcoming 2000 primary elections.   The
politicians are too evil, corrupt and/or totally ignorant not to wipe out the
2000 primaries and have a single winner election method in 2000.

Date:  Fri, Oct 2, 1998 10:38 PM EDT
From:  SErtelt
Subj:  CAMPEL-L:  Prez 2000 - New Primary Raises Questions (news)

Hopefuls Scramble With New Primary

.c The Associated Press


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Pete Wilson may have built himself a springboard. George W.
Bush might be the only governor who runs. Steve Forbes could blow the lid off
spending limits.

Only one thing is certain after California's decision to push its presidential
primary ahead: Political pros and potential presidents are rethinking their
2000 strategies.

``This has changed presidential politics more dramatically than any move we've
seen in years,'' said White House political director Craig Smith, who helped
elect President Clinton.

Wilson, the California governor who hopes to be president, signed a bill this
week that moved the state's primary from March 26 to March 7. His state joins
New York, Maryland, Georgia, Colorado and five New England states in the
coast-to-coast ``D-Day'' of primaries. An additional four states could jump
aboard in an effort to increase their influence.

Several Western states might hold elections a few days later, soon followed by
South Carolina and the so-called Super Tuesday primaries. In 10 days in March,
more than half of the states and three-quarters of the U.S. population could

``It's sort of the big-bang theory of presidential politics,'' says William
Galvin, Massachusetts' secretary of state and a critic of advancing primaries.

The campaign will still begin as usual in Iowa and New Hampshire, but with
only a week between elections.

The compact schedule will make money and name recognition all the more
important; handshake-to-handshake politicking less so. Darkhorses like Jimmy
Carter in 1976 or Gary Hart in 1988 will have little or no time to parley
surprise early showings into campaign donations, strategists said Friday.

``You could win big in New Hampshire and get a big media ride, but you won't
have enough time to turn that around into money,'' Smith said.

Candidates will have to raise their money 60 to 90 days earlier than
previously expected, and will need most of it up front. They will be buying ad
time in California and New York before results are counted in New Hampshire.

This favors Bush, the governor of Texas and son of former President Bush, and
Vice President Al Gore. They are their parties' best-known and best-funded
potential candidates, the strategists said.

For the long list of presidential hopefuls who aren't named Bush or Gore, the
key is Iowa and New Hampshire. More now than ever, strategists for those
politicians say their campaigns would have to finish in the top tier in Iowa
and first or second in New Hampshire.

``The two or three candidates who leap out of New Hampshire are going to
receive intense media coverage in California,'' said John Marttila, a Boston
consultant allied with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. The rest could quickly be

Iowa and New Hampshire have historically given front-runners fits, especially
sitting vice presidents. In the past, front-runners had time to recover.

``There's no room for error now,'' warns Steve Jarding, who works for Sen. Bob
Kerrey of Nebraska, a potential Gore foe.

If lightning struck for a darkhorse, Jarding said, there wouldn't be time for
the light to dim. ``If I get one week of momentum, I'm nominated,'' he said.

Lamar Alexander, the former Tennessee governor who ran for president in 1996,
sees the same weakness in Bush.

``I would think he will be the front-runner going in, and a front-runner
surprised in Iowa or New Hampshire wouldn't have time to recover,'' Alexander
said. Bush, who is running for re-election, does not talk about his
presidential prospects.

A Democratic strategist sympathetic to Gore said the vice president may be
forced to campaign in nearly every state to hold off every foe, while the
challengers could be more selective with their strategies.

``You could bleed (the front-runners) down,'' the strategist said.

On the other hand, the front-runners would have the money and organization to
use California as a place to recover the momentum. Gore has visited the state
more than 40 times; he and Bush have raised millions of dollars there.

``We have always had a national strategy,'' said consultant Bob Squier, a Gore

Dozens of other potential candidates see advantages or new strategies emerging
from California' decision:

Steve Forbes, another failed 1996 GOP candidate, will not accept federal
campaign money, an aide said Friday. That means the multimillionaire wouldn't
be held to spending or raising limits. And he is willing to write personal

Some candidates will be forced to choose between the coasts. Even with
California included, most of the March 7 delegates will come from the East.
``It's virtually impossible to play on both coasts at the same time,'' said
California GOP consultant Leslie Goodman.

The money squeeze will make sitting governors less likely to run for
president, said a GOP strategist familiar with the network of chief
executives. Bush is an obvious exception.

Wilson, a moderate with high approval ratings among California Republicans,
hopes to use his state as a springboard to the White House after he leaves
office next year. Spokesman Sean Walsh said a Democratic legislature, not
Wilson, pushed for the measure.

The media will play a more critical role, because no candidate will be able to
afford to saturate every market with TV ads. ``The advertising is so expensive
in 15 or 20 states that it would even challenge the fortunes of Steve
Forbes,'' Alexander said.

Moderate candidates hope to fare better than usual with the increased
influence of New York and California. However, former Christian Coalition
director Ralph Reed said GOP primary voters in those two states are socially
conservative. ``Any candidate who thinks otherwise is in for a reawakening,''
he warned.

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