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Stranger things have happened but this is the drama of 2008.

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Key Huckabee Backer in Michigan Is Obama Man

Stranger things have happened but this is the drama of 2008.

Both the Byzantine nature of the Michigan presidential primary — as well as the crucial importance of the January 15 contest — were underscored by the news that one of Mike Huckabee’s major boosters in the primary is actually supporting Barack Obama for President.

State Rep. LaMar Lemmons of Detroit, a Democrat and African-American, recently unveiled “Democrats for Huckabee” to urge crossover votes for the former Arkansas governor January 15.  In a state with no party registration, crossovers from one party without a presidential contest to another can have an impact; in 1972, thousands of Water Wonderland Republicans crossed over to give George Wallace a commanding win in the Democratic presidential primary.

In 2000, Democrats eager to embarrass then-Republican Gov. John Engler came over in droves to put John McCain over the top against Engler’s candidate, George W. Bush.  One of the ringleaders of the crossover campaign was a group that worked in the inner city known as “Democrats Out To Get Engler” (DOG) and its kingpin was — are you sitting? — LaMar Lemmons.

Lemmons told reporters Tuesday that the push for Republican Huckabee was prompted by the dearth of choices on the Democratic side of the Jan. 15 primary ballot. Lemmons said he himself supports Barack Obama, who chose not to run in Michigan.  But Lemmons likes his tormenting and wants to turn out Democratic votes for Huckabee because, as he told the Detroit Free Press, “"the Republican establishment supports [Mitt] Romney and McCain.” 

There is no way to gauge how much this mischief-making can hurt the Republican presidential candidates, as the race is extremely close.  According to the latest Detroit News poll, native Michiganian Romney holds a slim 21% to 19% lead over Huckabee among likely primary voters, with 12% going to Rudy Giuliani and 10% to McCain.  Voters who consider themselves evangelical conservatives comprised 25-to-30% of likely primary voters in 2000 and next year, that figure is expected to rise to about 40%. 

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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