At this point, the race for the democratic nomination is too close to call. Both candidates need a win in Texas and secure the 228 delegate votes that come along with The Lone Star State. Speeches are lining up, including a debate between Obama and Clinton on Feb. 21st in Austin. Obama will rally in Houston on Tuesday, Feb. 19th. Both candidates are alreay in Texas and campaigning for the win.
For Barack Obama, winning Texas means first looking to urban areas, especially to blacks in Dallas and Houston and energized young people in liberal enclaves like Austin.
Next month’s showdown in the Lone Star State offers one of the last big delegate paydays and the prospect of bragging rights for two Democratic candidates in hot pursuit of their party’s nomination.
Winning the state is never easy – it’s big (four times the size of Iowa and New Hampshire combined), expensive (advertising in Houston and Dallas can cost $1 million a week each) and ethnically, religiously and geographically diverse.
How important is Texas? Some Clinton allies, including political consultant James Carville, say she must win the Lone Star State or she’ll lose the nomination.
According to interviews with party officials, campaign operatives and political experts, here’s what it takes to win.
First, recognize that March 4 is not one race, but two. There’s the popular vote and there’s the delegate count – a candidate might win the vote total but get fewer delegates.
Second, this is not a battle to win pieces of geography, but a fight for constituency groups. Win your group – then try to poach from your rival.
“Hillary needs to maintain her advantage with women voters, which seems to be slipping nationally,” said Democratic consultant Glenn Smith. “Obama needs to be working on coalition, which seems to be growing. And he needs to continue to make inroads into the Hillary base.”
The Clinton blueprint suggests getting two-thirds of Hispanics, a majority of women and enough moderate “yellow dog” Democrats in East Texas to win.
Early voting begins Feb 19th and the primary election will be held on March 4th.