Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry is sporting a perfect record heading into Super Tuesday as he took the New Hampshire Primary in convincing fashion Tuesday night.
Kerry, with 39 percent, defeated former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean by 13 percent.
“I love New Hampshire. And I love Iowa, too,” Kerry told supporters. “And I hope with your help to have the blessing and opportunity to love a lot of other states as well.”
Despite the momentum of his second straight win, not to mention several polls released earlier this week showing Kerry with a slight lead over George W. Bush in a presidential election scenario, USF political science professor Lawrence Morehouse said it is still too early to jump to conclusions.
“It is no doubt that this gives (Kerry) a great deal of momentum,” Morehouse said. “But on Super Tuesday you will have more states involved and we will be likely to see a clear frontrunner.”
Leading up to the Iowa caucuses last week, Dean was that clear frontrunner. But the combination of last week’s “Iowa yell” and this week’s loss in New Hampshire might have sunk his campaign for good, Morehouse said.
“I think this hurts him tremendously,” Morehouse said. “The chances for him to win the nomination are slim.”
But Dean isn’t calling it quits just yet. Only 67 of the country’s 3,520 delegates have been determined. That’s just below 2 percent, and Dean said he’s confident he will get his due.
When asked by CNN’s Larry King if he feels he must win two or three states on Super Tuesday to stand a chance at winning the nomination, Dean said he doesn’t feel that kind of pressure.
“All we have to do is keep the enormous support of the grassroots behind us,” he said.
Dean, who was markedly more composed following the results of Tuesday’s primary than he was last week in Iowa, conceded that his loss in New Hampshire was disappointing.
“We always play to win,” he told King. “And until we win, there will always be a little disappointment.”
For the second week in a row, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards is showing signs of momentum, as he finished in a near-tie for third with Gen. Wesley Clark. This showing was surprising to Morehouse, who said he thought Edwards would be closer to Sen. Joseph Lieberman than he would be to Clark.
Morehouse said Edwards’ age will probably be his Achilles’ heel in this election, but a strong showing two weeks in a row and a victory in South Carolina could make the bid for the nomination all the more interesting.
Edwards told King he understands that to have a legitimate shot at the nomination, a win in South Carolina — the state where he was born — Tuesday is a must. And right now, he feels poised to take the state.
“I think (the New Hampshire primary) is very encouraging,” he said. “It’s a continuation of the momentum we saw in Iowa.”
The New Hampshire primary has not been a good predicator of the president in recent years. The last time a non-incumbent Democratic winner in New Hampshire took the presidency was in 1976 with Jimmy Carter.
In 1992, Bill Clinton lost the primary to Paul Tsongas but went on to win the nomination and the presidency.
New Hampshire turned out a record number of voters Tuesday, despite torrid weather. More than 200,000 people took to the polls, nearly 30,000 more than the previous record.
Of the total amount of delegates nationwide, the winning candidate must rake in 2,162, or 61 percent of the delegates.