But now that she's officially running, it's worth looking at the way Harris should follow to be nominated. Which states does she need to win? What states can she afford to lose?
eleventh February: New Hampshire Primary
22. February: Nevada caucuses
29. February: South Carolina's primary
Harris travel plan this week tells you a lot about how she will approach the first month vote. She will make her first official stop as a graduate of South Carolina Friday ̵
South Carolina voters seem to be ready for Harris who historically threw African-American voters more than half of all votes in the democratic presidential primaries in the state. Then-Sen. Barack Obama scored a crushing victory over Hillary Clinton in South Carolina in 2008, a victory that gave his candidacy a pace of speed in a number of caucuses in February 2008, giving him a delegation lead he never surrendered.
Obama's path is instructive to Harris – and not just because of their race. Obama won the Iowa caucuses on January 3, which allowed him to turn a surprising defeat in New Hampshire on January 8, with some momentum back to South Carolina Primary on January 26.
Questions to Harris are whether she can replicate Obama's success in Iowa or, if not, whether she can prove good in New Hampshire. Considering the size of the expected field – 18 to 24 candidates – winners may be less important to Harris than merely reviewing the expectations with a top three view.
If she can do that, she will be very well-placed to win in South Carolina, and with that victory under her belt there will be a force that goes into the larger populations that vote in March – no bigger than California to vote on March 3 and where Harris would be an overwhelming favorite.
If she can't win in Iowa or New Hampshire – and if Nevada's caucuses where she's doing well because of her California roots, sit down for the other three early voices they have in the last couple of bikes – the question will be whether the race runs past her before February 29 in South Carolina. In such a large field that may not happen so fast, but history suggests that Iowa and New Hampshire can – and usually do – radically change the state of the race over eight days.
] Point : Harris has all the tools to be the last democrat next year. But the card does not have an obvious gain for her until February 29 – which makes a strong show in Iowa or New Hampshire a near-must.