Friday, January 30, 2004

Big Endorsements and Little Endorsements

Me, I'm all about synthesis.

John Edwards does not have many big endorsements outside of North Carolina. Dean, on the other hand, has Al Gore, Bill Bradley, and other prominent Democrats. Before the Iowa caucuses, I found this dispiriting: after all, a big endorsement is better than a little one, right? Then the Iowa caucuses happened. Edwards beat Dean. So, endorsements don't matter, right?

Such was my thinking until I read this, this, and this.

The first this refers to New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid's efforts on behalf of John Edwards:

The Edwards campaign has had Madrid on the road frequently, tapping the people who have supported her in her election efforts.
Madrid has her own approach.
"I'm not just concentrating on legislators and statewide elected officials," Madrid said. "I like county commissioners and I especially like to get sheriffs' support. These are elected officials and a lot of people know them."
Madrid also likes to sign up entire extended families by convincing one matriarch or patriarch that Edwards is the right choice.
"A lot of Hispanics in this state vote by word of mouth," Madrid said. "One family is a tremendous network and they can have a lot of people and spread across different counties."

The second this refers to Wyeth of Wyethwire's mention of debate within the South Carolina Democratic Party over the value of media and organization:

EDWARDS VERSUS CLARK: Terry McAulliffe is treating Feb 3rd like the Bowl Championship Series - candidates need a "quality win" in order to continue to Super Tuesday. Edwards and Clark will fight to the death. This ought to be an interesting competition between field versus media. Edwards inherited the Gephardt field campaign, but Clark's commercials are some of the best I've ever seen. There is a big debate in the South Carolina Democratic Party about what strategy works best - an air blitiz or a ground game. Edwards versus Clark may settle that debate.

So, perhaps little endorsements matter after all - especially if they come with the promise of organization. If so, then the final this may make a big difference:

Joined by 35 of his House Colleagues, Minority Leader Rick Johnson announced his endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate Senator John Edwards. The thirty-six Democrats include a majority of the Democratic Caucus', including House Minority Whip Rep. Jeff Harris of Columbia.

Edwards has more South Carolina endorsements than any other candidate, and he has at least 25 endorsements in the Oklahoma state legislature.

On Tuesday, we'll see if Edwards can translate those little endorsements into big wins.