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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Richardson to send supporters to Obama?

The Huffington Post and New York Times are reporting that, in the event that he doesn't receive 15% of the vote in a precinct, Governor Richardson will direct his people to re-vote for Barack Obama. A candidate must reach the 15% mark in order to have their votes counted. Iowa has 1,784 precincts up for grabs. According to the Times, "In return, the Obama adviser said, Obama forces will lend support to Mr. Richardson at caucuses where Mr. Obama turns out more backers than he needs to win any additional delegates."

Both campaigns have denied the reports. The story originated from a leak in the Obama camp.

Why would Richardson choose Obama? Strategy for the long-run. While Richardson is a long-time political ally of the Clintons, and support for Hillary Clinton would go a long way toward ensuring a nomination for Vice President (he is rumored to be Clinton's top choice), Richardson and the senator have opposite views on Iraq, which is the governor's main issue. John Edwards aligns most closely with Richardson on Iraq, but it's possible that the governor does not see Edwards as a viable long-term candidate--Edwards is far behind Obama and Clinton in most other state polls. By supporting Obama, whose views on Iraq resemble Richardson's, the governor could be establishing some good will for the future, if Obama is indeed the nominee. It's unlikely that he'd be Obama's VP choice (two minorities on one ticket could not fly), but he could ensure a high level cabinet position: State, Defense, etc.

Dennis Kucinich has already directed his voters to the Obama camp. In 2004, Kucinich's support of Edwards went a long way toward ensuring the senator's second place finish. With two candidates backing--and possibly a third's, depending on which way Joe Biden swings--and a lead in the poll, Obama has a very good chance of winning Iowa and gaining serious momentum for the later states.


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