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But Blue has already lost once to Bowles, and one has to wonder where Blue makes up the difference a second time around. Some believe that difference is that if Blue wins the primary, he energizes the black vote, and keeps the Democratic base in line, thus increasing the pool of active Democratic votes. Bowles failed to energize the black vote in the general election, thus dooming any chances he had.
Blue has been coy about his running, saying he is talking to people, and that he will make a decision shortly. But in the influential church community across the state that rallied behind Blue last time, there is no thinking about it. Pastors in traditionally African American churches are calling on Blue to run for the good of the state. Bowles came out badly bruised and weakened after his primary battle in 2002. This time around it could be even tougher. As it stands, Burr has raised millions and leads in just about all of the polls.p> STREET CITY br> Just how desperate is the national Democratic Party for a win? Desperate enough to send both DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe and Democratic lightning rod James Carville to Philadelphia to campaign for embattled Philly Mayor John Street . /p>
Street, who is in a tough race against moderate Republican Sam Katz, remains ahead in the polls, and Democrats don’t feel he can afford to lose. “If we lost Philadelphia, even in an off-year election, it would be devastating to the party’s psyche,” says a DNC fundraiser. “We got beaten up in 2002, McAuliffe is getting hammered for his lack of leadership, our convention in Boston is hemorrhaging money and we’re fighting amongst ourselves over that. To lose that mayoral race would be just be icing on the cake. It would hurt.”
McAuliffe was in Philly around the same time that GOP Golden Boy Rudy Giuliani was in town raising money for Katz, who is fighting an uphill battle for the mayoral chair.
With the exception, perhaps, of the New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles mayoral runs, national parties have rarely played up any role they might take in what is considered basic backyard political races. But McAuliffe is said to sense an urgency to win a race, any race, leading into what could be a bad 2004 season for the party, particularly with the economy showing signs of growth.