Democratic candidates still have a long way to go

Lawton_Even after all the primaries, there's a good chance Democrats still won't have a clear nominee.  So, which party will benefit from the drawn out nomination process?  Both Democrats and Republican parties see these primary elections as a positive for their candidates.  But, after Tuesday night, it's become even more apparent to each of them that we're not going to know who will be the Democratic nominee until late this summer.

Oklahoma's Democratic Party Chairman Ivan Holmes says Senators Clinton and Obama are bringing new life to their party - even if they are opponents for the time being.  "I'm probably in the minority, but I think it's good for the party," he says.  "I think it's energized us out there."

It's garnered a lot of media attention for the Democrats, however it wasn't all good news for Senator Obama this week, and bad news could be on the horizon for Senator Clinton as well.  "They're starting to bring out different issues that their opponents stand for," says Holmes.  "And, I think it's causing people to say, 'You know, maybe this is not the person I want,' and I think the more that comes about, democratic candidates benefit us.  Some people say the negative is they might go after each other, and hurt each other.  But, if they keep it halfway civil - which I hope they will, it's going to be beneficial to our party."

But, at what point does not having a nominee hurt the Democrats?  Holmes says the winner will most likely not be chosen until the party's convention in August.  Even then, he says it will probably come down to super delegates.  "I think you're going to see a lot of power play because you're talking about 800 people who are going to determine who the candidate is," he says.  "That's something that hasn't happened before, and it's going to be interesting."

With a lot of focus on the Democrats, Oklahoma's Republican Party Chairman Gary Jones says Senator McCain can already begin to focus on his message and strategy for November's general election.  But, will Oklahoma's conservative GOP members support him?  "The Republican primary drags you to the right a little, and the Democratic primary is dragging them to the extreme left - to the liberal side," says Jones.  "General elections are usually just about the middle."

Oklahoma has nine super delegates, and Chairman Holmes is one of them.  He says only two have pledged their support - one for Obama, and one for Clinton.  By not deciding, Holmes says it will give Oklahoma's super delegates more clout, and may even bring both Senators Clinton and Obama back to the state to campaign for their votes.