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Expert Talks Indiana's Role In Presidental Race

Last updated on Thursday, August 4, 2011

(INDIANAPOLIS) - The presidential candidates are starting to dip a toe into Indiana.

Mitt Romney held a fundraiser in Schererville last week, and Herman Cain visits Indianapolis August 15.

The nominations are usually decided by the time Indiana's may primary rolls around, leaving Indiana with just token fundraising appearances from the candidates. But three years ago, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton visited 100 cities apiece in a fierce battle for the state.

IUPUI Political Analyst Brian Vargus says it's unlikely but possible Indiana could play a similar role in the Republican race. He says the Iowa caucuses should narrow the field, and Romney should easily win the New Hampshire primary. What happens next, in South Carolina, could chart the course for the nominating contest.

Vargus says some anti-Romney sentiment in South Carolina and the strength of the Tea Party there could splinter the party. With fewer states voting early on "Super Tuesday" next year, that could position Indiana as an opportunity for the party to try to heal any lingering rifts. But Vargus says Indiana is more likely to be a formality.

And he says advisers to President Obama who called the state "out of reach" for November are absolutely right.

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