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Norton Excited D.C. Will Be 'In the Game'

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) isn't quite sure what Feb. 12 should be called, but she knows she's excited about it.

"As far as I'm concerned, it's another 'Super Tuesday,'" she told Capitol Briefing, looking forward to next week's spotlight on the District, Maryland and Virginia presidential primaries.

The media appears to have settled on "Potomac Primary," and that's fine with Norton, though she did suggest, "Some people might want to call it the 'Chesapeake Primary.'"

The naming debate isn't the only one in which Norton is refusing to pick sides. She hasn't endorsed a Democratic candidate, and she won't.

"I don't see any value in lining up [with a candidate], particularly this year," Norton said.

As the District's only federal official, she has always believed it was better for her to remain above the primary fray. And she conceded it would be tough to make a choice anyway between Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.).

"These are not just people I know, these are good friends," Norton said.

Either way, next Tuesday should bring much-needed attention to the D.C. area's voters and public policy needs. Norton is especially happy the District, Maryland and Virginia didn't move up into last night's voting, when they might have gotten lost amid the two dozen other states going to the polls.

"Now all three states will be noticed in a way they haven't before," she said. "This way we're in the game."

Getting a Democrat into the White House could provide a boost to D.C.'s long-suffering effort to get voting representation in Congress, but Norton said she isn't thinking of the issue that way yet.

"I believe we have a good chance to get it through" this year, she said, referring to a compromise bill that would award new House seats to both Democratic D.C. and Republican-leaning Utah. That measure made it through the House in 2007 but fell a few votes short of the 60 necessary to get final consideration in the Senate.

"We certainly haven't given up this year, so we're not even looking toward" next year, Norton said.

As she's not endorsing, Norton won't be doing any area events with Obama or Clinton this week. On Tuesday, she will likely attend a big rally aimed at boosting turnout. Norton said her final message would be aimed at Democrats and Republicans alike: "Just get out and vote."

By Ben Pershing  |  February 6, 2008; 4:04 PM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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Next: Candidates Sneak Back to Work in the Senate

Comments

Just a question. Since the bill for DC voting rights was short in the senate, anyone know how Senators Obama and Clinton voted on this bill? Would be interesting to see what there stance was and what they say this week.

Posted by: belcharlie | February 6, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

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