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GA: Contenders Phone It In

By Darryl Fears
You are a presidential candidate in the campaign of your life, and California and New York are the prize states, the places to be on election day. But you wish you could somehow be in a key southern state like Georgia. What do you do?

You make a call.

The telephone was the weapon of choice for Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Likely Democratic voters awoke this morning to hear Clinton pleading: "It's going to be close and I need your help." Romney got really fancy with a newfangled device that greets potential Republican voters by first name. It's all in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) robo-called Republicans over the weekend.

Clinton does need help in the Peach State, where she trails Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) badly in the Democratic polls. Romney, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee were virtually inseparable in Republican polls.

In a race where every vote seems to matter, calling on the hotline could have consequences. But in Georgia, poll monitors are reporting problems that could offset what's shaping up to be a huge turnout. "You have people waiting in line for three hours without voting," said Helen Butler, state coordinator for the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, who watched a polling station in Decatur. "They're walking away even though we're telling them not to go."

Matt Carrothers, a spokesman for the secretary of state, said that the state is experiencing problems typical during large voter turnouts and that most voting is proceeding smoothly.

Eighty-seven delegates are up for grabs for Democrats and 72 for Republicans.

By Washington Post editors  |  February 5, 2008; 4:12 PM ET
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