As 2012 campaign nears finish, 2016 lurks

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Relieved to see the long, costly 2012 presidential race end? The 2016 campaign is closer than you think.

In some subtle ways, the jockeying to succeed Barack Obama or Mitt Romney already has begun.

Democrats know they'll need a new standard bearer regardless of whether Obama is re-elected, and there are plenty of possibilities - from Hillary Rodham Clinton to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Republicans hope Romney will be crowned the new GOP chief - but a crop of would-be candidates are at the ready in case he loses Tuesday, among them: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.

Already, rising star Republicans and Democrats have started making the circuit of political party dinners in Iowa, Florida, New Hampshire and South Carolina as they seek to introduce themselves to the early primary voters trusted to cull the field. Others are promoting autobiographies, often a clear indication of national aspirations. And some possible contenders have fired up political action committees to start refining donor lists and spread around contributions, an exercise in building goodwill that can pay off with a future endorsement.

In the coming weeks, tons of names will be floated as possible candidates, a list that will surely be longer than the roster of those who actually make the leap. Many are getting a taste of the presidential campaign trail as they make the rounds far from home as surrogates for this year's nominees, while making important contacts of their own.

Early voting numbers:
  • Votes: 1.6 million
  • Democrats: 35 percent
  • Republicans: 37 percent
  • Votes: 4.3 million
  • Democrats: 43 percent
  • Republicans: 40 percent
  • Votes: 614,000
  • Democrats: 43 percent
  • Republicans: 32 percent
  • Votes: 702,000
  • Democrats: 44 percent
  • Republicans: 37 percent
North Carolina
  • Votes: 2.7 million
  • Democrats: 48 percent
  • Republicans: 32 percent
  • Votes: 1.6 million
  • Democrats: 29 percent
  • Republicans: 23 percent

Source: The Associated Press

Other political news:- A Friday publication of a Mason-Dixon/Salt Lake Tribune poll was found to overweight Republican voters, putting Republican mayoral candidate Mark Crockett ahead of Democrat Ben McAdams by 10 points, compared to a KSL/Deseret News poll that found McAdams slightly ahead for county mayor. Better UTAH said in a statement Monday the organization hoped the newspaper would retract the polling results for the 4th District race, as well. "It is impossible to know the impact on the election of the Tribune's unfortunate decision to announce methodologically flawed poll results," said Maryann Martindale, Better UTAH Executive Director. "It is never easy to admit that you've made an error. We respect the integrity of the Tribune for wanting to get it right. Journalistic integrity is essential for an active, functioning democracy like the one we enjoy here in Utah. It is now incumbent upon Utahns to evaluate the information and exercise their right to vote."

  • New Jersey will allow residents displaced by Superstorm Sandy to vote in the general election via email or fax, CNN reports. Electronic voting is already available in some states to members of the military and U.S. citizens overseas. Those wishing to vote electronically will have to be verified by their county clerk before being emailed or faxed a ballot to return by 8 p.m. EST Tuesday.
  • Research shows that how a college sports team performs before an election is correlated to which way the county votes, according to the Washington Post. Counties in which the team won two weeks before the election tended to vote more strongly in favor of the incumbent president in every election between 1964 and 2008.
  • Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban offered to give $1 million to charity if Donald Trump would shave his head, according to the Chicago Tribune. Cuban was responding to Trump's offer to Pres. Barack Obama to donate $5 million to charity if the president would release his college records.
  • A disgraced former mayor has erected a statue of himself at his Michigan home, the Associated Press reports. Don Williamson was mayor of Flint, Mich., from 2003–2009. He resigned in 2009 in the midst of an election to recall him.
  • Kristi Burgess volunteered in the Salt Lake 2002 Olympics has has been a "huge fan ever since," she said. She said she created the parody video "Mitt Will Get You Back to Work" in an effort to "contribute to a Romney victory."

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Associated Press and Stephanie Grimes


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