vote early

Super Tuesday vs. Apathy Man by Rick McKee was licensed at Daryl Cagle’s PoliticalCartoon.com store

Have you made up your mind which presidential candidate you’ll be voting for?

If you haven’t, the presidential preference primary is just one week off, on March 1. So think speedily. You must decide soon!

At least what seemed like innumerable Republican candidates has been thinned seriously, with former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, exiting last week. From 17 candidates at the start, only five remain in the field: Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump. Even the Democrats have trimmed their field from six down to only Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

The states voting on March 1 include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia. Note that seven of these 11 states are in the South, giving our area of the country an early impact on the national scene. By March 2, a few more candidates may no longer be running for the top office.

So far, the major surprises this year have been the “outsider” campaigns of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Neither was given much of a chance against veteran politicians seeking office. Both have mounted intensive campaigns, which have captured the imagination of an astounding number of people.

Whether Donald Trump can maintain this momentum until the convention is the question. We have thought previously that the mainline GOP forces would control the campaign enough to deny Trump the nomination. That may still be what happens, but Trump has a front-runner position right now. However, though winning handily, it appears from the South Carolina voting that his strength is in the 30-40 percent, appealing to the minority of the Republican party. His attraction of new voters, and his possible pull from potential Democratic voters (in states where voting in either party primary is allowed), give him even more of a possibility.

As for Bernie Sanders, he certainly has the Hillary Clinton campaign concerned. Who would have thought he could hang in tough against the heavy favorite? Even more surprising is how close he has come in both Iowa and Nevada. Iowa was 51-49 for Hillary, and Nevada was 53-47. Not whopping Clinton victories, showing Bernie’s appeal.

In the Republican delegate count, Georgia ranks second among states voting March 1, with 75 delegates at stake on March 1. Only Texas, with 155, ranks higher. (Learn more by seeing this table.) Georgia is also important in the Democratic voting, tied for second with 116 delegates, outranked only by Texas (252), and tied for second with Massachusetts.

So there’s lot at stake in both parties in next Tuesday’s balloting for who will win their party’s nomination for president.

Remember you can vote early through Friday. Or come and enjoy the hoopla at your poll on March 1.

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Editor's Note: this story first appeared at GwinnettForum.com. Image: Super Tuesday vs. Apathy Man by Rick McKee was licensed at Daryl Cagle’s PoliticalCartoon.com store by LikeThewDew.com (your contributions are so appreciated).  
Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack is a native Georgian and veteran newspaperman. He published the weekly Wayne County Press for 12 years; was for 13 years the vice president and general manager of Gwinnett Daily News, and for 13 years was associate publisher of the Gwinnett section of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. He now publishes, in retirement, Web sites on Gwinnett County, http://www.gwinnettforum.com, and Georgia news, http://www.georgiaclips.com.