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Obama Is Iowa's Candidate; Huckabee the Bridesmaid

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In the first poll of Iowans since its caucuses last Thursday, Democrat Barack Obama would trounce Republican Mike Huckabee if the presidential election were held today. The SurveyUSA poll of 543 registered voters, conducted January 4-6, found Obama would defeat Huckabee by 23 points (58 to 35 percent) in a presidential matchup, with 8 percent undecided.

Obama and Huckabee took the state (and nation) by storm by registering decisive victories in Iowa last week, but the overwhelming Democratic turnout for the caucuses continues to translate into statewide support for Obama in the caucus aftermath.

Iowans also give Obama significant double-digit victories over all the other Republican frontrunners: by 40 points over Rudy Giuliani (66 to 26 percent), by 26 points over Mitt Romney (59 to 33 percent), and by 17 points over John McCain (55 to 38 percent).

The fact that McCain - who placed a distant fourth in the GOP caucuses with 13 percent - remains a stronger candidate in Iowa over Huckabee and Romney, indicates he is still able to pick up a greater number of independents and moderate Democrats than the other Republican candidates.

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Political Crumbs

No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


The Second Time Around

Former Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez became the seventh major party or second place gubernatorial candidate in Colorado to get a second chance at the office when he narrowly won his party's nomination last month. Two of the previous six candidates were successful. Democrat Alva Adams lost his first gubernatorial bid to Benjamin Eaton in 1884, but was victorious two years later against William Meyer. Democrat Charles Johnson placed third in 1894 behind Republican Albert McIntyre and Populist incumbent Governor David Waite but returned as the Fusion (Democrat/Populist) nominee in 1898 and defeated GOPer Henry Wolcott. Gubernatorial candidates who received a second chance but lost both general elections include Democrat Thomas Patterson (1888, 1914), Progressive Edward Costigan (1912, 1914), Republican Donald Brotzman (1954, 1956), and Republican David Strickland (1978, 1986).


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