The presidential primary races have been going on for more than a year. Anyone who thought Super Tuesday on Feb. 5 would decide the race for delegates was mistaken. The races are too close to call a clear winner.

But Super Tuesday -- when 22 states will have either a caucus or a primary equaling about half the delegates -- will provide something that has been lacking in this race: the decisive momentum needed to win the nomination.


The Republican race has come down to two major contenders: John McCain and Mitt Romney. They lead in delegates and in recent national polls. Many see McCain as a leader on issues involving foreign policy and national defense, while Romney's business background trumps the other candidates' in terms of strengthening the economy.

Rudy Giuliani, erstwhile front-runner, had banked his entire candidacy on using Florida as a springboard to Super Tuesday, a strategy that has failed miserably. Most polls predict he'll finish in third or fourth place there.

Mike Huckabee mathematically has a chance to win the nomination. Huckabee can do well in Southern states, such as Arkansas, Alabama, and Georgia, along with some Midwestern states, which helps him more than some have calculated. Most Southern states were carried by President Bush in 2004 and thus receive bonus delegates in the Republican primaries. Huckabee's main problem is fundraising; he has lagged the other candidates all year. According to a Gallup poll , Huckabee will struggle on Super Tuesday because of lower numbers of evangelical voters in big states like California and New York.

One big state has an important Republican primary today: Florida. I see it as a microcosm of the race going forward. McCain has had the help of both Democrats and independents to win in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Romney, on the other hand, has had the staunch support of Republicans in his wins in Wyoming, Michigan and Nevada. Florida has a closed primary in which only Republicans can vote.

Whoever wins in Florida gains a big advantage nationwide. The winner will continue to eke out support from Republicans across the country and will probably win the nomination.

Several states on Super Tuesday also have closed primaries: California, Colorado, Connecticut, and New York. These states will help the Florida winner gain momentum with delegates and propel him to the nomination with approval from the Party base.


Several important events occurred over the weekend in the Democratic race. Barack Obama picked up an easy win in South Carolina. He won overwhelming support from black voters and doubled the expected numbers of white voters, garnering 25% of their votes.

John Edwards suffered as a result. Edwards was born in South Carolina, and his campaign had hoped to win here to launch his campaign heading into Super Tuesday. He finished a distant third. Realistically, his candidacy has come to an end, and it's only a matter of time until he quits.

Obama followed up on his success in South Carolina with an big endorsement from Sen. Ted Kennedy (D., Mass.). The endorsement came at a rally in Washington, D.C., and included two other Kennedys: Caroline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy's daughter, and Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D., R.I.). The Kennedys likened Obama to both JFK and Robert F. Kennedy.

Hillary Clinton has her own stable of Kennedy endorsers, including RFK's children: Kathleen, Bobby Jr. and Kerry.

Democrats also have a primary Tuesday in Florida. The Democratic National Party (DNC) sanctioned Florida for moving up the primary ahead of Feb. 5, which means the race will award no delegates. But many expect the DNC to reverse itself at or before the party convention in August. The DNC cannot risk demoralizing Florida Democrats following 2000 and 2004.

Clinton leads by 20 points in the polls in Florida. A win there would stop some of Obama's momentum. In addition, the Democrats plan to debate one more time in California, where Clinton has consistently outperformed Obama.

According to, Clinton also maintains a steady advantage in national polls of almost 10%. Several large states will have primaries on Super Tuesday, including California, Massachusetts, Illinois, New Jersey and New York. Aside from Obama's home state of Illinois, these states all favor Clinton by double digits in the latest polls and have a massive number of delegates to award.

I think the race will be won or lost in those states on Super Tuesday. If Clinton can maintain those margins, the race will begin to change dramatically. Party elites will call for Party unity. The leaders of the Party understand they will require a united party to beat any Republican challenger -- no race is a lock to win.

As I mentioned last week, Clinton holds the lead among endorsements from the party elites, or superdelegates. Superdelegates represent elected officials and Party officials (this only applies to the Democratic Party) who would have a vote at the convention. The superdelegate vote has never come into play, nor would the Party want it to decide an election. It would be undemocratic.

I predict the nominees will not be decided in name on Super Tuesday, but in reality the momentum of the big day will solidify a candidate to win the nomination.