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After five decades of primary power and three presidents, Texas and its March 4 primaries may be presidential-race irrelevancy

March 4 Is a Long Time

"I think this will end at midnight on the West Coast on February 5," Sen. Hillary Clinton told MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski about the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday morning. Now that's just one candidate, but after five decades of primary power and three presidents, Texas and its March 4 primaries may be a presidential-race irrelevancy.

It's not just Super Tuesday. Back when the pivotal date was in mid-March, Texas was an original Super Tuesday state. But now, with 2,249 of the Democrats' 3,248 pledged delegates settled by Clinton's cutoff, swelling to 2,488 by March 4, those 228 Lone Star Democratic delegates could be moot. On the Republican front, 1,616 of the 2,345 delegate votes will be sorted.

And where are the candidates? GOP Rep. Ron Paul is the sole and unlikely national candidate from Texas for either party. In a year when Democrats seem resurgent on state and national stages, it's a poor comparison to 1976, when U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen was a primary hopeful and Rep. Barbara Jor­dan a serious contender for the vice presidency. Even Texas endorsements are ailing, with Rick Perry's fave, Rudy Giuliani, imploding as fast as Attorney General Greg Abbott's pick, Fred Thompson. Will a future president be looking to Texas at all?

Originally published Jan. 8 on the Chronicle news blog, austinchronicle.com/newsdesk.

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