With all the focus on Super Tuesday, we tend to forget that the next round of state primaries and caucuses could play a decisive role in the selection of the Democratic nominee for President. The results coming out of today's voting could be so close that no one emerges with an advantage. Six months ago, almost everyone thought the game would be over today, but now it is quite possible that won't be the case.
Of course, if either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama surges at the last minute and sweeps Super Tuesday, the primary topic of discussion will be how to get a good room at the convention.
So, assuming that there will be no rest for the weary, we have to forge on to the next stops on the campaign trail for February and early March. Here are the key states and my projections. Please feel free to leave your projections in the comment section.
Louisiana (68 Delegates): According to the last census, 33 percent of Louisianans were African American. Since Katrina, however, it has been hard to accurately gauge the state’s demographics. African Americans should contribute to a solid Obama base, but the breakdown of white vote breakdown will be key. With so many unknowns, it is just too close to call.
Washington (97 Delegates): With two female United States Senators and a large number of female state officials, Washington should lean towards Senator Clinton. Interestingly, Washington has more LGBT state legislators than any other state in the country, and they could play an important role for either candidate. Nonetheless, I think Senator Clinton has slight advantage.
Nebraska (31 Delegates): Having endorsed Obama, will Democratic Senator Ben Nelson be able to deliver the goods for his candidate? Given Nelson’s unusually high popularity in a very red state, I think he just might. I predict a slight advantage for Obama.
Maine (34 Delegates): Maine, along with Vermont, is one of the more progressive states in the country. On the other hand, two popular female Republican Senators demonstrate the state’s unique independence and feminist ties. This one could be too close to call.
Virginia (103 Delegates): Many people forget that Virginia elected the first African American governor, Douglas Wilder, who now serves as mayor of Richmond and is a strong Obama supporter. Of equal importance, almost 20 percent of Virginia’s population is African American, which again will contribute to Obama’s base. With the current governor, Tim Kaine, also supporting Obama, I have to give him the advantage.
Maryland (99 Delegates): With an extremely large and politically-active African American community, Maryland should be fertile ground for an Obama win. In addition, there is strong anti-war sentiment in Montgomery and Howard counties. While the large number of federal workers could assist Clinton, I still see a significant lead for Obama.
District of Columbia (37 Delegates): Obama should win in a walk.
Wisconsin (92 Delegates): The state's large student population and progressive tradition should proudly wear the Obama crown.
Hawaii (29 Delegates): Hawaii has an active and potent feminist political movement. Ironically, the Democratic Party in Hawaii can be very conservative at times. Finally, Obama lived in the state at one point and might be able to stir up some hometown pride. It’s too close to call.
Texas (228 Delegates): Texas will lead off “Super Tuesday 2," if no clear winner emerges today. With its huge Hispanic population, Old Southern tradition in East Texas, active LGBT community and large student population, Texas is also too close to call.
Ohio (162 Delegates): Ohio is a cultural crossroads with Midwest sensibilities. With a strong progressive base in Columbus, Ohio may be a hard fought battleground between Obama and Clinton. This state is also too close to call.
Rhode Island (32 Delegates): Rhode Island is Kennedy country, which should contribute to an Obama win.
Vermont (23 Delegates): Given the state’s progressive roots, Obama should do well in Vermont.