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Bob Barr is new piece in electoral puzzle News Team…

“My heart will always be with Ron Paul, and I’ll be fighting for him all the way to the National Convention,” writes Frank Koch, a computer programmer from Columbus, Ohio, in an e-mail. As for his vote in November, he adds: “I’m personally leaning toward the Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin, but a large percentage of Ron Paul supporters are currently looking at Bob Barr. Voting for McCain, Hillary [Clinton], or [Barack] Obama is completely out of the question for all Constitution-loving activists.”

Jane Aitken, a pro-Paul activist in Bedford, N.H., says she’s not sure she likes Barr, but doesn’t know what she’ll do in November. “I could always have a good conscience and write in Ron Paul, and know that I didn’t help someone like John McCain,” says the retired schoolteacher. If the Paul vote splinters in numerous directions, then McCain can relax. And the typical Libertarian take in a presidential race, about 400,000 votes, also won’t doom McCain, as long as it is spread thin around the country.

But there is a scenario in which Barr could become the Ralph Nader of the 2008 race. Take Barr’s home state of Georgia. A recent poll by Insider Advantage showed Barr winning 8 percent of the November vote there versus 45 percent for McCain and 35 percent for Senator Obama. Georgia has a large African-American population, and if Obama can generate high turnout in that community, a key part of his base, then that plus Barr could cost McCain the state – and conceivably the election.

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