Alabama Becomes Part of the Political Landscape for Presidential Candidates

John McCain and Wesley Cark have already made appearances. John Edwards will arrive Friday. "They're building their grassroots base," says Democratic Party Chairman Joe Turnham.

Turnham says more candidates are expected to pay visits to Alabama like Barack Obama. Alabama Congressmen Artur Davis wants to hold a fundraiser for the Illinois Senator. Turnham says Alabama's diverse population will force candidates to confront real issues. He says issues like, "Race relations and abortion."

Turnham says the February primary will have an economic impact on our state. He says, "If it's donecorrectly, the political adds and the crews they send in here will have an economic impact."

More importantly, Alabamians will now have a voice in electing a president. When the state's primaries were held in June, the front runners were already known. Alabama was out of the equation. But moving to February means the road to the White House runs straight through Alabama. "One of these people is going to be the president of the United States, the most powerful person in the world. They would have gone to mule day and syrup sopping day in order to become president," says Turnham.

Republican Chair Twinkle Cavanaugh says in February former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will be in Alabama to speak at the Republican Party's annual dinner.  She adds former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani's national campaign director asked when he could come to Alabama.

February fifth also happens to be Mardi Gras Day which is a holiday in Mobile. Legislators are looking at ways to address that issue for voters there, but it seems almost everyone agrees the date should not be moved back.