GA: A GOP Tie; Obama Leads with Dems
By Darryl Fears
Mitt Romney made a campaign stop at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta yesterday while his chief rival Sen. John McCain relied on robo-calls to connect with voters in the hotly contested Georgia Republican primary.
Romney is betting that McCain doesn't have the luxury of being able to reach out to voters by phone, with such a slight lead in the tracking polls. McCain's 31 percent leads the field by only two percentage points, according to a Ramussen Reports poll.
While the three Republican contenders, including former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, are in a virtual dead heat, Sen. Barack Obama is leading Sen. Hillary Clinton by a margin that appears hard to overcome, 52 percent to 37 percent in the Ramussen Reports survey of likely voters.
Georgia Secretary of State Karen C. Handel predicted a 30 percent to 35 percent voter turnout, compared to 17 percent four years ago. Based on the prediction, state Democratic party spokesman Martin Metheny said, "We could see as many as one million Democratic voters," trumping the 600,000 who voted in the last primary.
Seventy-two delegates are up for grabs for Republicans and 87 delegates are available to Democrats, not including super delegates who are not obligated to support any particular candidate.
Clinton sought to chip away at Obama's lead by giving some face time to voters. She attended a Democratic Party of Georgia dinner on Wednesday, a party official said, and her husband, Bill Clinton, spoke at Kennesaw State University just north of Atlanta on Friday. Obama hasn't appeared in the state since he addressed the flock at the Harvest Cathedral church in Macon more than a week ago.
Huckabee campaigned in Woodstock and Macon on Sunday. During his Georgia Tech visit, Romney sought to build on the momentum of his endorsements by the state's largest newspaper, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, and three endorsements from members of the state's congressional delegation, more than other Republicans.
Obama was also endorsed by the Constitution, and the state's most powerful mayor, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. Clinton was endorsed by Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon who has wide influence among older, black middle-class Atlantans.
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