The Buena Vista County Republican and Democratic Committees are nearing closer to their respective County Conventions, knowing that by the time they are complete, there is still a distinct possibility that the Democratic orace between United States Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Hillary Rodham-Clinton (D-NY) could still be a dead heat.
First and foremost on the agenda for both parties is to begin supporting local county candidates and to establish the state platform issues.
The convention for Buena Vista County Republican Committee is scheduled for March 8th at the Alta Community Center and the Democratic Committee is holding its convention on March 15th at the Buena Vista County Courthouse.
Democrats plan to send 12 delegates to the 5th District Convention before the state convention that will take place this summer. Republicans intend to name 21 delegates and 11 alternates to the district convention.
Each party is working to encourage candidates for the open county offices, as well as speculating on the statewide and national shifts in the political landscape.
Interested parties who are considering a candidacy for any of the county offices must file nomination papers between Monday, March 3rd and Wednesday, March 26th at 5 PM with the County Auditor's Office. For interested parties seeking statewide office, candidates must file by Friday, March 14th at 5 PM with the Secretary of State's Office. Both Reps. Gary Worthan and Dan Huseman, and area Senator Steve Kettering, plan to run.
Each party is working on their own efforts toward helping interested persons file their nomination papers and establish their platform for the positions that they intend to run for.
The races from a local level include the District IV and V Board of Supervisors seats being vacated by Lorna Burnside and Herb Crampton as well as a potential bid for Buena Vista County Sheriff from Deputy Sheriff Gary Launderville, an Alta Republican.
In addition to providing support for local candidates to win county and statewide election, each respective committee also said that their state conventions could determine how delegates will transition its support of candidates that are no longer in the race.
The primary focus on a transition of delegates in the state of Iowa are focused on the "Edwards Delegates" as well as the delegates that were assigned to former Arkansas Govs. Mike Huckabee and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Gov. Huckabee emerged victorious with 34% of the Iowa Republican Caucus vote and received 30 of the 37 delegates. Gov. Romney received the remaining seven delegates.
Dennis Weber, County Chairperson for the Republican Party, feels that the party will come together and support a unified leader in state of Arizona Ranking Senator John McCain.
"I believe that the state will support Sen. McCain. He has enough delegates to win the nomination and I would expect that Governors Huckabee and Romney will cast their full support to the nominee, said Chairperson Weber. "Huckabee and Romney will release them to McCain so that we can all pull behind Sen. McCain."
On the flip side, it will be very interesting to see what happens to the delegates that intended to support former Vice-Presidential nominee John Edwards who placed 2nd in the Iowa caucuses with 30% of the vote in order to gain 14 pledged delegates.
According to Matt Pearson, Committee Chair for the Buena Vista Democratic Committee, he has no idea what decision this important block of Edwards delegates will make. He noted as well that there are a handful of "Richardson delegates" referring to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, that may be up for grabs.
"They could continue on as a group and they don't have to change sides until the National Convention," said Pearson. "They are viable to elect delegates until they choose to do so (switch affiliation to a candidate)."
In terms of party platforms, delegates are voting and revising language for the party platform in the county as a next step to the state convention.
Chairman Pearson said the same issues that the Democratic Party were tackling in 2007 are the same issues that they are focused upon in 2008.
"Aside from the number of candidates that has decreased, the political landscape has not changed because the same issues are still important: Iraq, economy, privacy issues, things like that - and fixing the corruption", said Pearson. "Those things are still in the forefront. Healthcare is another top issue in so many ways that it needs to be fixed in order to make sure that everyone is covered in one way or another and that rural states like Iowa are compensated fairly by Medicare and Medicaid."
According to Weber, he expects the Republican platform to highlight the issues of "family values, homeland security, national defense and foreign policies, law and justice, right-to-life, natural resources and environment, taxes and spending.
In the meantime, all eyes will be on the March 4th primaries in Ohio and Texas.
"In one week, we will have a much better feel about that, if it is a wide margin one way or the other," said Pearson. "If Obama wins those two states by a wide-margin then he will be a front-runner. If Sen. Clinton wins... then it will be a dead-heat."
To date, Sen. Clinton has polled six points ahead of Sen. Obama in the state of Ohio according to RCP Poll Averages with a dead-heat in the state of Texas.
"You cannot trust polls," said Pearson. "If it plays out then it will still be a close race going into the national convention and then the super delegates will play a large role."