Primary colors

A presidential election has commenced after this nation has arguably encountered more change during a presidential reign than any other in history.

For the first time in decades, the presidential election is wide open, without an incumbent seeking re-election or a sitting vice president looking to run. Between the two major parties, there is yet to be a front-runner.

The hopefuls vying for the highest office in the land have been campaigning in the early states, and though a front-runner isn’t set, one thing is clear: Voters are excited about selecting the next president. In New Hampshire, the local election officials worried about running out of ballots. It is apparent that Americans are interested in this election, likely due to the competitive nature among all candidates.

The style of campaigning thus far is set to change come Feb. 5, when more than 20 states will hold primary elections on “Super Tuesday.” The face-to-face flattering seen in Iowa and New Hampshire will be replaced with broader, big-money advertisements targeting the entire nation. The candidates aspire to build momentum before “Super Tuesday,” to enable their ability to run in the presidential election to be held in November.

The next focus on the Democrats side will be the Nevada caucus, to be held on Jan. 19. It appears that it will be a head-to-head test of support between Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL), the delegate leaders so far in the Democratic Party.

On the Republican side, it is more up in the air, as Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and John McCain have each won the states Wyoming, Iowa and New Hampshire, respectively. With several contenders splitting the votes, the key states of Michigan and South Carolina are especially important for the Republican candidates to capitalize.

Michigan poses an interesting situation for Democrats. The national party penalized the state for scheduling the vote in mid-January, rather than later in the cycle. The national party voted to strip Michigan of delegates as a penalty, but party leaders in the electoral-vote rich state stated firmly that they will be seated at the convention.

Clinton is the only major candidate who did not pull her name from the Michigan ballot. This prompted Democratic leaders in Michigan to urge the supporters of major candidates John Edwards and Barack Obama to vote “uncommitted” in the primary held on Jan. 15 instead of settling for Clinton. Neither Edwards or Obama are on the ballot, and under state law, their supporters cannot cast write-in votes for any of them due to the fact that none of them have authorized write-in campaigns.

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