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Sunday, March 4, 2012 - 8:10pm

GOP, Democrats Prep for Election

Anyone can vote in Tuesday’s Republican Primary, regardless of party affiliation. But the day’s likely to draw more GOP voters to the polls than Democrats. That’s because there are four Republican presidential candidates on the ballot who are still running.

And Republican voters will find quite a crowded ballot on Super Tuesday.

Rick Perry. Michele Bachmann. Jon Huntsman. They are among the nine names on the Republican primary ballot.

But of the candidates listed, the four still running are Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul.

Paul will likely not pose a serious challenge for the other three contenders. But the election will be pivotal for Gingrich, a former Georgia Congressman.

So says Tom Crawford, editor of the online political site, The Georgia Report.

Crawford says if Gingrich loses the race or only wins by a small margin:

“Then it becomes really difficult for him to make the case that he is still a credible candidate and that he has a plausible path to the nomination," he said in an interview. "I think at that point you really do see a lot of pressure place on Gingrich, ‘You know maybe you should think about getting out of the race'.”

Georgia will award 76 delegates, the most of any of the ten states holding primaries on Super Tuesday.

President Obama will appear on Tuesday's Presidential Preference Primary ballot but registered Democrats don’t have to vote in that election because he has no opposition.

In many areas of the state, however, Democratic voters will have a chance to vote on special sales taxes for education and Sunday alcohol sale referenda.

It also won’t be an off-day for Democratic party officials.

Georgia Party chair Mike Berlon says he will be monitoring GOP voter turnout.

“From the standpoint of it being a big day for Democrats, it’s really not, except on local issues," Berlon said in an interview.

"From the standpoint of what’s going to happen with us on national issues, all of these primaries have given us an awful lot of good feelings about the fact there’s not a lot of Republican enthusiasm for their candidates.”

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.