Horse Race Update

I, like most people, think that John Kerry’s endorsement isn’t going to be a huge boost for Obama. He worked up a lot of bad will, with me among others, by losing a completely winnable election in 2004. That said, I think the benefits are greater than they’ve been made out to be. The most obvious is that, between Kerry and Deval Patrick’s endorsements, Obama should have a good chance of winning Massachusetts. Chris Bowers’ mostly excellent February 5th breakdown lists Massachusetts as favorable to Clinton, but I think having massively popular officials like Kerry and Patrick on board gives Obama an edge. Massachusetts has 93 delegates, making it one of the biggest states in play that day; given Obama’s preexisting advantage in Illinois and Georgia, and the fact that California’s Democratic primary is open while its Republican one is closed, a Massachusetts win could lead to Obama winning a majority of states that day. But the endorsement’s advantages don’t stop there. Kerry owns a much-vaunted email list, to which he’s already sent a message endorsing Obama, and has remnants of organization in many of the states in which he competed in 2004.

George Miller and Tim Johnson also endorsed today. The latter isn’t too surprising, given Tom Daschle’s early endorsement of Obama, but Miller’s close friendship with Nancy Pelosi gives him great sway in national and (more importantly) California politics. Having Pelosi/Miller allies on the ground working for Obama in California will undoubtedly help him win there, which will be critical in securing the nomination.

And Bill Richardson has dropped out. He seems to be following the Dodd/Biden non-endorsement route for the time being, but his withdrawal letter contains very gracious compliments for all of his opponents, which is nice. Your turn, Edwards.

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