Giant, Diverse Texas Presents a Primary Riddle

Candidates have to run the equivalent of a national campaign to reach all
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2008 2:40 PM CST
Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., speaks to a crowd at a watch party Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008, in Austin, Texas. Fellow Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Trying to win a primary in Texas is “like running a national campaign,” a veteran strategist says one week before the pivotal vote. With its enormous size and diversity, its multitude of media markets, and a voting system so complicated it’s been nicknamed the Texas two-step, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been campaigning at a breakneck pace, the New York Times reports.

Texas is pro-gun conservative in the Panhandle, immigrant-rich in Houston, more like Mississippi in the east, and Bush country in the center. And not only is the population shifting more rapidly than the candidates can map it, but election night is a complicated mix of regular voting and caucuses, making it nearly impossible for campaigns to do the math. Said Clinton, “We have grown men crying over it.”