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February 15th, 2008
12:47 PM ET

Can Obama Win Texas?

Hillary Clinton may be making the same mistake that Rudy Giuliani when he  retreated from Iowa, New Hampshire, and all of the other early contests, only to find that a solid month of losing elections is very bad PR.

Hillary was in El Paso as the results rolled in from her defeats on Chesapeake last Tuesday. Obama was in Madison, Wisc., where the primary on Tuesday could help him expand his meager delegate lead.

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Leslie Sanchez book- Los Republicanos: Why Hispanics and Republicans need each other

Clinton is counting on a Texas victory on the backs of the 24 percent of the Democratic primary vote in Texas that is Hispanic (according to the 2004 numbers, anyway). Her belief is that those Hispanics, for whatever their reasons, will be reluctant to vote for Obama.
But to win with those votes is a much greater challenge than to win with California Hispanics, for example, because the Texas Latino vote is spread out through a hundred little towns in South Texas, not concentrated in any one major city.

In Texas, it's the African-American vote that is much more concentrated. It can be more easily mobilized for Obama in Houston and Dallas. He can top it off with a strong showing among the rural, working-class blacks in Deep East Texas.

In fact, Bill Clinton is now campaigning in Texarkana, Tyler, Longview, and Nacogdoches in order to counteract Obama's perceived strength there.  The college students (the ones who vote, anyway) and the latte liberals in Austin will go overwhelmingly for Obama.

In short, Hillary can't take Texas for granted just because she's done so well so far among Hispanics. The losses she is racking up right now could mean trouble for her on March 4- not only in Texas but in Ohio as well.

– Leslie Sanchez, Founder and CEO, Impacto Group LLC

Program note:  “Uncovering America: Race, Gender and Politics” airs Friday on 360° at 10p ET

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