SNEAK PEEK: Beltway Battles


Feb. 12 – Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC primaries and Democrats Abroad Caucuses
175 Democratic delegates at stake
113 Republican delegates at stake

Hillary Clinton may have a slim lead in the overall delegate estimate (on the strength of her support from superdelegates) but her losing streak could continue tomorrow when voters head to the polls in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC.

The Clinton streak certainly is not quite as dismal as the Miami Dolphins starting off the season 0-13. But tomorrow's primaries and contests in Hawaii and Wisconsin on Feb. 19 are the Clinton campaign's last chances before the critical March 4 primaries to gain back the momentum they seem to have lost to Obama as he racks up wins and hauls in cash.

Things to look for on Mid-Atlantic Tuesday:

- African-American turnout, especially in Maryland, where state Democratic Party officials predict it could be as high as 60 percent in their primary (compared to 35 percent in the 2004 Democratic primary). The competitive primary in Maryland's fourth congressional district between two African-Americans, Rep. Albert Wynn and challenger Donna Edwards, could drive up African-American turnout.

- Delegate allocation on the Democratic side – if Obama wins big he may be able to take a slim lead in the overall delegate estimate so far. But if Clinton keeps it close, her superdelegate edge and the proportional allocation system could keep her out in front. Stay up to speed on the ABC News delegate estimate here.

- Republican turnout in the southwest corner of Virginia – if Huckabee can perform strongly enough here to blunt McCain's strongholds in the Tidewater area (Virginia Beach, Norfolk), he could make it a contest. Don't forget McCain's "agents of intolerance" line in Virginia in the 2000 presidential primary season, referring to the late Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. He has changed his tune, but his campaign should probably not count on a strong showing in that corner of the state.

- Hispanic voters in Northern Virginia. The population of these suburbs outside of Washington DC are exploding and a high turnout of Hispanic voters could help Hillary Clinton in these congressional districts.

Before the polls open tomorrow, Clinton and Obama sit down with WJLA's Leon Harris and Politico's John Harris for back-to-back interviews airing tonight at 7:00 pm ET on the ABC affiliate in Washington DC.

Plan your night around…


VIRGINIA- Republican Primary - open

Polls open: 6:00 am ET
Polls close 7:00 pm ET
60 delegates at stake, winner take all

VIRGINIA- Democratic Primary- open

Polls open: 6:00 am ET
Polls close: 7:00 pm ET
83 delegates at stake, proportional


MARYLAND- Republican Primary - closed

Polls open: 7:00 am ET
Polls close: 8:00 pm ET
37 delegates at stake, congressional district - winner take all

WASHINGTON, DC- Republican Primary - closed

Polls open: 7:00 am ET
Polls close: 8:00 pm ET
16 delegates at stake– winner take all

MARYLAND- Democratic Primary - closed

Polls open 7:00 am ET
Polls close: 8:00 pm ET
70 delegates at stake, proportional

WASHINGTON, DC- Democratic Primary - closed

Polls open: 7:00 am ET
Polls close: 8:00 pm ET
15 delegates at stake, proportional

And don't forget the Democrats Abroad caucuses, which technically end on Tuesday. There are seven pledged delegates up for grabs in that contest.

On the campaign trail. . .


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