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Texas Scuttlebutt

Apologies for the spotty blogging of late. I’ve been in Texas for the last two days reporting on the Obama field campaign.

A couple of quick notes:

Edwards failure to endorse by now has really diminished the power of any future endorsement. I was at an organizational meeting with Charles Soechting, the immediate past state chair of the Democratic party and a former Edwards supporter. He described a big dinner for the state-chairmen at the Edwards estate last week, in which they repeatedly pressed Edwards for direction — whom should they back?

Edwards remained tight-lipped, and so the state chairs have gone with their own guts. Soechting is now a surrogate for the Obama campaign, helping organize precinct captains.

To the Texas election itself: Texas is an early voting state. Meaning that the polls opened yesterday.

There are also two parts to the Texas election. A primary with 126 delegates at stake. And a caucus with 67 delegates. The caucus begins right after voting closes on March 4. And you cannot caucus unless you’ve voted. (Kinda makes you yearn for the simplicity of the electoral college, don’t it?)

It may make more sense to think of Texas as two prizes, an Illinois-sized primary and a Minnesota-sized caucus. Past-performance suggests that even if Obama loses the popular vote in the primary, he’s well poised to make up ground in delegates in the evening caucus.

In other words, it’s going to be very, very difficult for the Clinton campaign to bounce out of Texas with the kind of resounding win that she needs to blunt Obama’s momentum.

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