Election 2008

Who Is Montana? A Pre-Primary Tour

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Montana is one of two states holding a presidential primary this Tuesday. iStock.com hide caption

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The state of Montana will be the last place primary voters can cast a ballot on Tuesday. Both Montana and South Dakota vote tomorrow, but Montana polls close an hour later.

Voter turnout is predicted to be heavy. Montana political reporter Chuck Johnson says that election officials are expecting a 50 percent turnout, as opposed to normal primary turnouts of just over 30 percent.

Johnson also says that Obama appears to have a comfortable lead. "He's captivated Montana, run a better grassroots campaign." says Johnson. "And Hillary Clinton has always been unpopular in Montana."

Even if he wins Montana, Obama will still have a fierce battle to fight in this heavily Republican state in the fall. Only three times in the past 60 years has Montana voted for a Democratic presidential candidate. But Johnson points to the defeat of incumbent Republican Senator Conrad Burns by Democrat John Tester in 2006 as one indication that there may be a Democratic resurgence underway in the state.

And while most people may point to coal as the state's greatest resource - one-fourth of the nation's coal is buried under eastern Montana - the Democrats may find another resource here - the state's colorful governor, Brian Schweitzer, a possible Vice Presidential choice.



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