Clinton Wins Indiana, West Virginia; Obama Wins North Carolina

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With additional reporting by Matthew Cardinale.

(APN) ATLANTA — US Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) won Indiana, while US Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) won North Carolina on Tuesday, May 6, 2008. Then, Clinton also won West Virginia the following week, on Tuesday, May 13.

INDIANA AND NORTH CAROLINA

The Indiana and North Carolina results did not deliver the knockout punch or game-changing play that either campaigns had wanted.

An Obama sweep of the two states on May 6 would have increased pressure on Clinton to drop out, while a Clinton sweep would have changed the psychology of the race, bolstering her case that she is a stronger candidate for November.

The night contained more drama than many expected. While Obama fulfilled expectations that he would handily win North Carolina, Clinton narrowly won Indiana, 51% to 49%.

Polls in Indiana closed at 7 pm EST but the television networks and other media outlets waited hours to call the tight race because one county had yet to report.

Lake County, a populous county in northwest Indiana where Obama was expected to do well, did not begin reporting results until after midnight. By this time, Clinton led by only two points and Lake County could have tipped the balance.

But the Lake County totals were not enough for Obama to overcome his deficit and the networks called Indiana for Clinton after 1 am.

Both candidates expected those outcomes and spoke hours before Indiana officially went for Clinton.

“There are those who are saying that North Carolina would be a game changer in this election, but today what North Carolina decided is that the only game that needs changing is the one in Washington, DC,” Obama said.

“When this campaign began, Washington didn’t give us too much of a chance. But because you came out in the bitter cold and knocked on doors and enlisted your friends and neighbors in this cause, because you stood up to the cynics and the doubters and the nay-sayers when we were up and when we were down… tonight we stand less than 200 delegates away from securing the Democratic nomination for President of the United States,” Obama said.

The Clinton Campaign disputes Obama’s claim, however, about being 200 delegates away, because she says this calculation accepts the Democratic National Committee’s controversial ruling which stripped away delegate representation from Florida and Michigan, as previously reported in Atlanta Progressive News.

“Because of you, we’ve seen that it’s possible to overcome the politics of division and the politics of distraction, that it’s possible to overcome the negative attacks that are always about scoring more points and never about solving our problems,” Obama added.

“Tonight, many of the pundits have suggested this party is inalterably divided, that Senator Clinton’s supporters would not support me and my supporters would not support her. Well, I’m here tonight to tell you I don’t believe it,” he said in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“This fall, we intend to march forward as one Democratic Party united by one common vision for this country because we all agree at this defining moment in our history… we can’t afford to give John McCain a chance to serve out George Bush’s third term; we need change in America, and that’s why we’ll be united in November,” Obama added.

With results in from Indiana and North Carolina, Obama slightly extended his delegate lead over Clinton, keeping the delegate math tricky for her. This is because his delegate win in North Carolina was larger than hers in Indiana, and North Carolina is a larger state.

“Not too long ago, my opponent made a prediction. He said I would probably win Pennsylvania, he would win North Carolina, and Indiana would be the tie-breaker. Well, tonight we’ve come from behind, we’ve broken the tie, and thanks to you, it’s full speed on to the White House,” she said.

“For everyone who holds your breath at the gas pump afraid to see how much it costs today. For everyone working day and night because you want the world for your kids. For every young person with big dreams who deserves a world of opportunity. And for all those who aren’t in the headlines but have always written America’s story, tonight is your victory right here,” Clinton said.

“I want to commend Senator Obama and his supporters on their win in North Carolina. You know, we are in many ways on the same journey. It’s a journey begun long before we were born. It is a journey by men and women who have been on a mission to perfect our union, who marched and protested, who risked everything they had, to build an America that embraces us all,” Clinton said.

Clinton asked for continued support and reached out to voters in the coming primary states.

“I’m going to work my heart out in West Virginia and Kentucky this month and I intend to win them in November in the General Election,” Clinton said. “I want the people in these upcoming states to know we’re going to work hard to reach out to all of you because we want you to know the Democratic Party is your party and a Democratic President will be good for you.”

WEST VIRGINIA

Clinton won West Virginia by a very wide margin, 67% to 26%.

“I am so grateful for this overwhelming vote of confidence. There are some who have wanted to cut this race short. They say give up, it’s too hard, the mountain is too high. But here in West Virginia you know a thing or two about rough roads to the top of the mountain,” Clinton told supporters.

“We know from the Bible that faith can move mountains, and my friends, the faith of the Mountain State has moved me,” Clinton said.

“Neither of us has the total delegates it takes to win and both Sen. Obama and I believe that the delegates from Florida and Michigan should be seated. I believe we should honor the votes cast by 2.3 million people in those states and seat all of their delegates. Under the rules of our party, when you include all 50 states, the number of delegates needed to win is 2,209 and neither of us had reached that threshold yet. This win in West Virginia will help me move even closer,” Clinton said.

“I want to send a message… I am in this race because I believe I am the strongest candidate… to lead our party in November of 2008 and the strongest President to lead our nation starting in January 2009… I believe our case–a case West Virginia has helped to make–our case is stronger. Together, we have won millions and millions of votes,” Clinton said.

“We’ve won them in states we must be prepared and ready to win in November: Pennsylvania and Ohio, Arkansas and New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Michigan, Florida, and now West Virginia. It is a fact that no Democrat has won the White House since 1916 without winning West Virginia!” Clinton said.

THE RACE GOING FORWARD

Clinton will likely continue to trail Obama in delegates, even if she wins all remaining primary contests.

The race for the Democratic nomination is likely to continue for at least a few more weeks as neither candidate is likely to have the necessary delegates–with or without Florida and Michigan included–needed to receive the nomination when the primary seasons ends June 3.

What happens after that date is anyone’s guess. Party elders could decide to intervene before the August convention and persuade the trailing candidate to drop out, avoiding a prolonged campaign and divided convention.

The prospect of choosing a nominee through a floor fight at the national convention in Denver has many Democratic leaders worried the party would be too divided to take on US Sen. McCain (R-AZ) in the General Election.

If the race goes to the Convention, party leaders will need to decide what role Florida and Michigan play. The Democratic Party stripped both states of all their delegates after both states moved their primary dates up in violation of party rules.

Clinton won Michigan on January 15, 2008, with 55 percent of the vote, but Obama did not appear on the ballot there. Forty percent voted “uncommitted.”

Clinton won Florida on January 29, 2008,. with 50 percent of the vote, while Obama carried 33 percent even though he did not campaign there.

The Democratic National Committee Rules Committee will meet May 31 to discuss the Florida and Michigan situation.

Kentucky and Oregon will hold Primary Elections on May 20.

The campaign wraps up on June 3, 2008, with Democratic primaries in South Dakota, Montana, and Puerto Rico.

About the author:

Jonathan Springston is a Senior Staff Writer for The Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at jonathan@atlantaprogressivenews.com. Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor and may be reached at matthew@atlantaprogressivenews.com

Revised syndication policy:

Our syndication policy was updated June 2007. For more information on how to syndicate Atlanta Progressive News content, please visit: http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/extras/syndicate.html

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