Don’t screw with West “By God” Virginia, Obama.
Hillary Clinton, declaring “this race isn’t over yet,” beat Barack Obama by a decisive margin in the West Virginia Democratic primary Tuesday.
Early returns indicated Clinton was beating Obama by better than 2-to-1. She is capturing almost every demographic group, and doing particularly well among the large group of white, working-class voters in the state.
West Virginia offers just 28 pledged delegates, and so Clinton’s victory Tuesday, which was widely expected, will have little impact on the overall trajectory of the race. Obama, leading Clinton by a wide margin in total delegates, has already started turning his campaign toward the general election.
But the Clinton win prolongs the race and fuels the New York senator’s argument that she is able to carry groups that will be important to Democrats in November.
“We know from the Bible that faith can move mountains, and my friends, the faith of the Mountain State has moved me,” Clinton said at her primary rally in Charleston, W. Va. “I am more determined than ever to carry on this campaign until everyone has had a chance to make their voices heard … This continues to be a hard-fought race from one end of our country to the other.”
West Virginia returns showed Clinton with 65 percent and Obama with 27 percent, with 64 percent of precincts reporting.
Cheers of “It’s not over! It’s not over!” broke out at Clinton’s state headquarters in Charleston after the race was called.
Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe told FOX News before polls closed that he doesn’t see it as inevitable that Obama will become the Democratic nominee.
“Hillary Clinton is in this to the end, she’ll win this nomination,” he said in the evening, before introducing Clinton to a raucous audience.
Exit polls highlighted the demographic divide between the coalitions of Clinton and Obama, but with little diversity in the state, Clinton also scored well among Obama’s traditional support groups.
Among her typical backers — white voters, women, seniors and non-college educated, Clinton polled above 65 percent in each group.
Obama campaigned lightly in West Virginia and repeatedly said Clinton would probably win both that state and Kentucky, which holds its primary next Tuesday.
“There is no question that Senator Clinton is going to win by huge margins in the upcoming primaries in West Virginia today and Kentucky next week,” the campaign said in a memo Tuesday.
It reminded voters that Obama won neighboring Virginia by double digits in February and that the Illinois senator has racked up nearly as many superdelegates in the past week as there are pledged delegates at stake in West Virginia.
As Clinton and her supporters gathered in Charleston Tuesday, Obama spoke at an economic town hall meeting in Missouri, without mentioning Clinton once during his prepared remarks. He mentioned President Bush eight times and John McCain five times.
“This is our moment to turn the page on the divisions and distractions that pass for politics in Washington,” Obama said.
Obama’s decision to spend Tuesday night in Missouri reflects the shift in focus the campaign has made toward November since one week ago, when he won the North Carolina primary by double digits and held Clinton to a narrow victory in Indiana.
Obama is now looking to Oregon, which votes May 20 along with Kentucky, to nudge him toward the finish line. Polls show him ahead in Oregon, and he campaigned there over the weekend.
Obama began Tuesday with 1,875.5 delegates, to 1,697 for Clinton. It takes 2,025 to win. Clinton had picked up 16 of the 28 delegates in West Virginia, compared to seven for Obama, with five outstanding.
Since his North Carolina win, nearly 30 superdelegates — party officials and insiders who are not obligated by election results to support any candidate — have swung to Obama.
Clinton took criticism last week for defending her presence in the race by raising her ability to attract white voters, during an interview with USA Today.
*But according to exit polls, one in five voters said race was an important factor in their decision.
McAuliffe said the final days of the Democratic race, though, are not about race. He said they are mostly about the economy and the Iraq war. Indeed, a majority of West Virginia voters surveyed in exit polls said the economy was the top issue.
* Who made it so, Obama? Your slick both sides of the net, campaign did…..Stick to tennis, young man…You are NOT Presidential material. Condi Rice is. Colin Powell is. You aren’t!.