Each state tends to have a marquee political reporter who sets the tone for campaign coverage but also serves as occasional cheerleader for that state’s electoral importance. Think Des Moines Register‘s David Yespen skewering a candidate for downplaying the caucuses or the New Hampshire Union-Leader‘s John DiStaso defending the Granite State’s treasured first-in-the-nation status.
Even Arkansas News‘ John Brummett once argued to me that “Arkansas’ six electoral votes were as decisive as Florida” in the 2000 presidential election.
But in the last few days we’ve noticed a couple of reporters getting a little down on their states. St. Pete’s Times and Florida political sage Adam Smith fretted that the Florida was loosing its place in the political sun. “It’s time to broach an unspeakable, heretical suggestion in this state,” he wrote on Saturday. “Maybe, just maybe, Democrats can continue snubbing America’s biggest swing state and still march into the White House.”
Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Larry Eichel lowered expectations even further for his state. “The primary will be important, but not all-important,” he explained. “It will not turn out to be just another contest. But it’s not looking anything like a final confrontation either.” Eichel went on to crunch the numbers on how the Keystone State accounted for fewer delegates than states that vote on May 6.
Greenville News’ Dan Hoover was a little bit more praiseworthy of his state, noting, “McCain is another in line of Republicans, beginning with Ronald Reagan in 1980, who needed and used South Carolina’s Republican presidential primary as a launching pad to the nomination.” But Hoover is sure to throw in a disclaimer: “McCain isn’t in the Oval Office yet and may never be.” Thanks for clearing that up; we wouldn’t want to get the wrong impression of South Carolina.