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Democrats Intensify Campaigns in Iowa - 2004-01-17


Democratic presidential contenders are cranking up their campaigns in Iowa in the final days before voters in the midwestern state choose who will be their nominee to run against President Bush in the November election.

Polls show that four hopefuls - former Vermont governor Howard Dean, Senator John Kerry, Congressman Dick Gephardt, and Senator John Edwards - are tied for first place heading into Monday's caucuses.

Iowa's undecided voters are expected to determine who wins the state's Democratic presidential nomination.

Major candidates are focusing their efforts in the more populous eastern part of the state looking for support among the undecided. Each has mounted an aggressive media campaign, and is making speeches - even going door-to-door - in search of support.

Iowa is the first state to choose a nominee. The top finishers are expecting a major boost heading into the primary election season that begins with the vote in New Hampshire on January 27. Iowa Democrats are predicting a record turnout for Monday's caucuses with some 125,000 voters expected to participate.

The two other Democratic candidates competing in Iowa are Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, and civil rights activist Al Sharpton. Polls show Mr. Kucinich with only three percent backing, and Mr. Sharpton less than one percent.

Polls give retired General Wesley Clark a three percent backing in Iowa, and Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman one percent, even though they are not campaigning in the state.

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