The Washington Times - January 29, 2008, 04:25PM
Sen. Hillary Clinton

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Despite a hotly contested Republican race, polling stations throughout much of Florida were reporting modest turnouts. Elections officials cited early voting (Floridians may vote in national contests up to two weeks prior to election day) and a Democratic contest neutered after the national Democratic Party stripped the Sunshine State of its delegates when the Florida party moved its primary ahead of Feb. 5.\

\ At Hillsborough County’s Precinct 131 polling station in Tampa’s affluent Hyde Park neighborhood, an election official at mid-day predicted a turnout of about 30 to 35 percent — about half the precinct’s turnout for the 2004 presidential primary.\

\ “Early voting definitely has an effect,” said assistant precinct clerk Robert Arnold Walter. “It really takes the pressure off the polls late in the afternoon. In the 2004 [presidential election] it was like Disneyland here, we had lines everywhere.”\

\ Walter also cited some confusion among Democratic voters.\

\ “One woman, a Democrat, came in and complained that her vote wasn’t going to count,” he said. “I said ‘I can’t help you with that.’”

\ \ \ \ \ Also today, Clinton scored the backing of California iconic Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters.\ \ \ Some Democrats are wondering if New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will be endorsing her before his state’s Super Tuesday primary. The former candidate is being courted by the campaigns.\ \ \ Also, while cable networks work themselves up over Sen. Barack Obama’s “snub” of Clinton, I found something more interesting about last night’s seating chart at the State of the Union.\ \
\ \ \ 102003349207_0_ALB.jpg\ (AFP photo via Yahoo News)\ \
\ \ \ \ That’s Joe Biden sitting next to Clinton. The two looked quite friendly all night while Obama didn’t leave Teddy Kennedy’s side. Maybe he just found a nice spot to take in the view.\ \ \ Or maybe Biden is leaning toward backing Clinton. I asked that question of several Biden aides today, and they didn’t respond with any denials.\ \ \
\ Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter, The Washington Times

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