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Muskie forces in Massachusetts have moved into the vacuum created when Senator Edward Kennedy declined to enter the contest. The Muskie team has put together a proficient political organization and plans to field a tough-to-beat delegate slate that will help Muskie capture all of the convention votes from Massachusetts. In Connecticut liberal leaders Joe Duffey and Anne Wexler have climbed aboard, assuring Muskie the support he needs to win.
THE SOUTH: NO
Atlanta Bureau Chief Joseph Kane is responsible for eleven states of the Old Confederacy from Virginia to Texas, with 595 delegates.
Most Southern Democrats are highly suspicious of Muskie. Here, the Muskie bandwagon has to steer around the chuckholes of Southern conservatism. In Georgia, party pros were upset by an apparent Muskie snub during a trip he made to the state in December; old-line Georgia whites disliked his escorting Mrs. Coretta King to church. He has some following in Alabama, but has yet to campaign there. Several Mississippi delegate votes that could go to Muskie depend on who wins the current dispute between a black-liberal coalition and party regulars who lean to Henry Jackson. Arkansas delegate votes will be in the hands of Wilbur Mills until he decides to release them. Tennessee will probably split between Jackson and George Wallace. Texas Democrats could support Muskie, but much depends on whether he gets the nod from Lyndon Johnson over Humphrey. Muskie looks good only in Virginia, North Carolina andbecause he has a first-rate organizationSouth Carolina. Florida, the first test, remains a question mark.
THE MIDWEST: YES
Chicago Bureau Chief Gregory Wierzynski is responsible for 15 states ranging from Ohio to Oklahoma, with 1,001 delegates.
In the large Midwest states the smoothly functioning Edmund Muskie organization makes him the leader in the race for the nomination. The Muskie candidacy also has drawn an array of impressive endorsements from Midwest political leaders. His Polish origins make him popular in the ethnic wards of Chicago, Cleveland and Milwaukee. Rural voters have been impressed by his folksy manner. Only in Minnesota and South Dakota, Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern territory, is he lagging behind.
Although his support is widespread, it could falter, as it apparently did last week in Iowa where Muskie won only 35.6% of the delegates elected in precinct caucuses while McGovernwho was expected to run poorlywon 23%. Also, big city blacks could turn to Hubert Humphrey in reaction against Muskie's veto of a black running mate. But at this point Muskie looks like the winner in the Midwest.
THE WEST: YES
Los Angeles Bureau Chief Don Neff is responsible for 13 states stretching from New Mexico to Montana and west to Alaska and Hawaii, with 578 delegates.
In Wyoming they wish there were a candidate in the Harry Truman give-'em-hell mold, in Arizona they would like to see a man with charisma and in Colorado they complain about the lack of excitement in the presidential race. Still, Muskie today looks like he has the Democratic nomination assured in the 13 Western states.