Democratic Presidential Hopefuls Gaining Some Visibility

Even though the presidential election is more than a year away, Democrats are already racing to raise cash to go against President Bush. But, how many of them do East Texans really know?

Chad Parker, Smith County Democratic Party Chairman: "Unless somthing happens, [Pres. Bush] is always going to have an advantage in Texas."

Texas loves President Bush. The last election and many polls show that clearly enough. But there are Democrats with their eyes on the White House. Not one... but nine.

"I know they will make appearances here and campaign hard here, and raise money here," Parker says, but he adds it's early, and having nine candidates will confuse voters. Not to mention split up the cash.

"The best strategy is to eliminate, or pare down the number of candidates so the resources raised will go to those which have the best chance."

And from the folks we spoke with, there is at least some name recognition.

One man told us, "Lieberman, and the guy from Massachusetts."+

Another named: "Lieberman, Gephardt, Al Sharpton, and Carole Moseley."  Reporter: "You know a lot of them?"  "Yeah."

One man said, "I don't know of a one that I'd vote for, other than Ralph Hall. He is the top Democrat in Washington as far as I'm concerned."

Howard Dean is raising some attention, and some cash online. Going from an unknown, to someone who's a contender. But it could be anyone. After all, Bill Clinton didn't win his first primary, and had eight years in the White House. Thats what makes some democrats hopeful for their future.

Parker says, "As each day comes about I think the chances get better."

Reported by Morgan Palmer