Clinton Wins Pennsylvania Primary, Democratic Race Goes On
With additional reporting by Matthew Cardinale.
(APN) ATLANTA — US Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) defeated US Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) in the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary Election on Tuesday, April 22, 2008, ending a long, bitter, and expensive campaign for the most populous state left on the nominating calendar.
With no contests in the last six weeks, both candidates put all their focus on the Keystone State, spending millions of dollars and trading barbs in an increasingly negative campaign.
Clinton enjoyed a lead by as much as 20 points six weeks ago. Obama chipped away but could not overcome the deficit.
Clinton thanked supporters in Philadelphia for delivering the state.
“It’s a long road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and it runs right though the heart of Pennsylvania! You know, for the last six weeks, Senator Obama and I have criss-crossed this state meeting people up close, being judged side by side, making our best case. You listened, and today you chose,” Clinton said.
“With two wars abroad and an economic crisis here at home, you know the stakes are high and the challenges are great. But you also know the possibilities; those possibilities are endless if we roll up our sleeves and get to work with a President who is ready to lead on day one,” Clinton said.
“You know that means ready to take charge as Commander-in-Chief and make this economy work for middle class families. And I thank you, I thank you Pennsylvania for deciding I can be that President,” Clinton said.
Clinton invoked in her speech “The mothers and fathers at my events who lift their little girls on their shoulders and whisper, ‘See? You can be anything you want.'”
“Some people counted me out and said to drop out but the American people don’t quit and they deserve a President who doesn’t quit either…” she said. “Today in Pennsylvania, you made your voices heard and because of you, the tide is turning.”
In her speech, Clinton also encouraged listeners to donate to her campaign at hillaryclinton.com. In the 24 hours since her speech, her campaign raised a record $10 million, including from over 50,000 new donors, her campaign said.
Support for both candidates split along predictable lines. Obama enjoyed enthusiastic support from African-Americans, wealthy, young, and Philadelphia suburbanite voters. Clinton benefitted from women, older, and blue-collar voters from Pittsburgh and other rural areas.
State election officials said Tuesday voters turned out in record numbers.
A healthy majority of new voters who registered in recent weeks favored Obama. But Clinton benefitted from undecided voters who made their choice in the last week.
Because Pennsylvania is a closed primary, meaning only registered Democrats could participate, Obama could not benefit from independent and Republican cross over voters who have helped him in previous contests. Georgia’s Primary is open.
Obama outspent Clinton by a large margin, but in the end it did not matter.
“We were up against a formidable opponent who outspent us three to one,” Clinton noted of Obama in Philadelphia. “He broke every spending record in this state trying to knock us out of this race. Well, the people of Pennsylvania had other ideas.”
Obama, expecting a loss, left the state before the polls even closed for Indiana, which will hold its Primary in two weeks. He spoke to supporters in Evansville.
“I want to start tonight by congratulating Senator Clinton on her victory this evening,” he said to boos from the audience.
“No, no,” Obama said, “She ran a terrific race.”
On the other hand, Clinton’s supporters did not boo at any mentions of Sen. Obama.
“There were a lot of folks who didn’t think we couldn’t make this a race when we started, thought we were going to get blown out,” Obama said.
“But we worked hard and we traveled across the state… and now, six weeks later, we closed the gap. We rallied people of every age and race and background to the cause, and whether they were inspired for the first time or for the first time in a long time, we registered a record number of voters and it is those new voters who will lead our party to victory in November,” Obama said.
“After fourteen long months, it’s easy forget what this campaign is about from time to time, to lose sight of the fierce urgency of this moment. It’s easy to get caught up in the distractions and the silliness and the tit-for-tat that consumes our politics, the bickering that none of us are entirely immune to and that trivializes the profound issues–two wars, an economy in recession, a planet in peril,” Obama said.
Obama also took some shots at US Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who has already secured enough delegates to become the GOP nominee.
But Democrats are still looking for their nominee. There are nine more contests left in the Democratic nominating season, which ends on June 3.
Obama still leads Clinton both in pledged delegates; but the popular vote is now disputed by the two campaigns because Clinton is now in the lead when Florida and Michigan are included, yet Obama is in the lead when they are excluded.
With Florida and Michigan included, Clinton is ahead currently in the popular vote, 15,016,012 to 14,904,466, according to abcnews.go.com.
With those states excluded–based on the fact they have violated rules established by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) regarding when states may hold their Primaries–Obama leads 14,335,425 to 13,830,653.
It appears now that neither candidate will have enough delegates, though, to secure the nomination after all the contests are over.
DNC Chairman Howard Dean and other party leaders have already said they would prefer this contest not go to the National Convention in August unresolved.
That means superdelegates will have to step in to push one candidate over the top. There are a little over 300 superdelegates left who have not committed to either candidate. Clinton currently leads among this group, but that could change if Obama maintains his overall lead.
The campaign moves on next to the US territory of Guam, which will hold its Primary on May 3, 2008.
The next big contests come May 6, 2008, when North Carolina and Indiana hold their Primaries. Obama is leading in North Carolina, while the race is essentially tied in Indiana.
Clinton will need to win in Indiana and shrink Obama’s lead there in order to make a good case of viability to the undecided superdelegates, several political analysts on corporate television networks have said.
About the author:
Jonathan Springston is the Senior Staff Writer for The Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at email@example.com. Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for The Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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