In the spotlight

Published 2:08 pm Tuesday, March 25, 2008

By Staff
Usually by the time the presidential primaries in North Carolina roll around, the Democratic nominee and the Republican nominee have been decided.
This year, John McCain all but has the Republican nomination in hand. As for who will be the Democratic nominee, that’s yet to be determined. The results of the Democratic primary in North Carolina on May 6 may play an important role in determining who the Democratic nominee will be.
That explains why the candidates are spending more time in the Old North State than they probably would have if the nomination were sewn up by now. Barack Obama is coming to Greensboro on Wednesday, his second day of campaigning in North Carolina in as many weeks. He plans to hold a town-hall meeting. Hillary Clinton is coming to North Carolina on Thursday. Details of her visit have yet to be released.
Last week, former President Bill Clinton campaigned for his wife during visits to Charlotte and Cary. The former president, during his appearance in Cary, said that if his wife beats Obama in upcoming primaries, that North Carolina voters could decide who gets the Democratic nomination.
Once expected to just be icing on the nomination cake, North Carolina could become a key ingredient of that nomination cake. With its 115 delegates, North Carolina is a crucial must-win state for Clinton and Obama. According to a report by The Associated Press on Friday, Obama leads Clinton by only 121 delegates.
If it’s North Carolina’s fate to decide who will be the Democratic nominee, then the state’s Democratic voters should carefully consider what each candidate offers and which one is the best choice to lead the country if he or she becomes the next president. It appears North Carolina voters have a huge responsibility in front of them. Tarheel voters should keep that responsibility in mind when they go to the polls on May 6.
Over the years, Tarheel voters have usually done nothing more than provide window dressings for previous presidential primaries. This year, North Carolina may provide the window through which the world looks to see who the Democratic nominee and the possible next president will be.
Because it’s the 11th-largest state in the nation, North Carolina should have a say that matters when it comes to choosing presidential nominees. Perhaps it’s time for the Old North State to hold its presidential primaries at a time when candidates are forced to consider North Carolina a state they must win instead of a place to which they must make a courtesy call.
Because there’s such a close race between the Democratic candidates, North Carolina is in the spotlight. That spotlight should be on North Carolina in every presidential race.