In 2004 the state of South Carolina gave Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards his only win of that entire primary season, but it looks like the state could have a different result in store for him in 2008. Even though Edwards is a native son of the state, he is having a hard time keeping his support because of having to compete for votes with nationally known candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama. The Edwards camp has already seen several high profile state politicians announce that they will back Clinton next time, and Obama is drawing huge crowds for each of his visits.

Edwards isn’t the new kid on the block this time around. Instead, he is treated more as an old familiar friendly face in his birth state. His slippage in support has caused him to have to make a trip to South Carolina this week, in the hopes of bringing his former supporters back into the fold. In national polls, Edwards has consistently been the third preference for Democratic voters. With South Carolina now positioned as the first southern primary in 2008, Edwards needs to win in this state to validate the notion that he, as a southerner, will be the candidate that can win the south in November for the Democrats.

Edwards does have a better network of volunteers in the state than he did in 2004, and he also has more money to spend than he did last time around. John Edwards is in a tough position because many voters may already feel that he had his chance with Kerry in 2004 and they lost, so it is time to look for a new candidate. As personable as John Edwards is, he doesn’t have the ability to send a charismatic former Democratic president in to campaign for him. He also doesn’t have the fresh face factor that Obama does. If Edwards finishes third in South Carolina, his campaign is likely finished. This is how high the stakes are for John Edwards in the Palmetto State.

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse 

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