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Greg Bluestein

The Georgia presidential primary is one month away

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Iowans get ready to do their thing. AP Photo.

Iowans get ready to do their thing. AP Photo.

Des Moines – With a month to go until Georgia’s presidential primary, the Peach State stage seems set for a heated Republican duel between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz for the hearts of conservatives while Hillary Clinton aims to leverage her support from the state’s heavily black Democratic base to stomp her top rival.

But that script could be rewritten in a heartbeat with the gantlet of early-state votes that begins Monday in Iowa. Struggling also-rans could start dropping out of the crowded Republican field over the next weeks. Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ rise in the polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire could embolden more Democrats to spurn Clinton.

And when the spotlight shifts later this month to Georgia, Texas and the sweep of Southern states that vote on March 1, the candidates will find a vastly different, expensive and potentially treacherous set of challenges that could upend the race.

“Right now, it’s clear who has all the momentum. But it all comes down to how Iowa shakes out,” said Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, the most high-profile supporter in Georgia of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s campaign. “And what you’ve seen traditionally is there’s movement in those first early primaries.”

That’s an understatement. Click here to read more about why Monday’s Iowa vote could shake up the race in Georgia.

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AJC in Iowa: A hunt for the undecided and unconvinced

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