John Kerry on the Campaign Trail

Kerry's march now takes him into a two-front battle. The first front, against former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, comes to a head this Saturday in Michigan and Washington state.

Kerry's approach to these delegate-rich primaries is much the same as his Feb. 3 tactic: ride momentum and endorsements, making late visits that saturate highly populated media markets at voter decision time. His first success? The aforementioned victory party. Riding the tide of a five-for-seven night, Kerry packed in more than 2,000 in downtown Seattle and proudly displayed the recent endorsements of Gov. Gary Locke and Senator Maria Cantwell.

In Michigan, the Kerry campaign has thus far resisted pricey advertising and, confident of their position, will dedicate at least two valuable days to the state late this week. Gov. Jennifer Granholm has endorsed Kerry and, during a down day in Boston Wednesday, the Senator will focus on unions and fundraising, both of which could aid his effort in the Wolverine State.

On the second front, Kerry looks back to the South, the region of the country in which the New Englander has failed to place first, delivering his only political defeats since 1972. Kerry's principle competition in Virginia and Tennessee, both of which hold their contests Feb. 10, is fellow Sen. John Edwards. Kerry, like Edwards, will go on the air with series of ads in both states. The only significant difference: Kerry will also advertise in Democrat-rich northern Virginia with ads airing on Washington, D.C., stations as well.

Kerry will turn his attention to Virginia this weekend, appearing at the state's Jefferson Jackson dinner, and likely spending some quality campaign time in the state.

South by Southwest

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Feb. 2 — On the eve of his first multi-state election day, Senator Kerry made a first and final two-state swing through the southwest, rallying party faithful in New Mexico and Arizona.

The sense in the Kerry camp the day before Tuesday's seven 269-delegate rich contests is unlike that of the nights prior to the upset in Iowa or New Hampshire romp. Instead, a quiet confidence has overcome the once-downtrodden crowd.

No one dares make an on-the-record guess but underlying questions persistent at almost every campaign level: has Kerry locked up four, maybe five? Could he sweep?

The once foolish thoughts are banished quickly amongst nomination fever struck staffers, more out of superstition than disbelief.

Whatever Tuesday's outcome, Kerry's ability to seriously compete in the Feb. 3 states boil down to one word: momentum.

Case in point: since Kerry's official presidential announcement in Charleston, S.C., on Sept. 2, 2003, and before the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 27, 2004, the Senator visited Arizona twice, New Mexico once, and South Carolina once.

Senator Kerry did not campaign in Oklahoma, Delaware, Missouri, or North Dakota during this time.

The Kerry campaign purchased no advertising in the Feb. 3 states until just seven days ago and national staff presence was sporadic at best.

Nonetheless, the Senator has received welcome cheers in all seven states this past week, piled on state and national endorsements, and went up with four rotating television ads.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson commented, "He's virtually unstoppable in New Mexico, great momentum. He has incredible support in the Hispanic community, 3 to 1."

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