Clinton Wins Kentucky Primary, Obama Wins Oregon, Delegate Majority
With additional reporting by Matthew Cardinale.
(APN) ATLANTA — US Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) won the Kentucky Primary by a wide margin on Tuesday, May 20, 2008, while US Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) won big in Oregon.
Obama’s Campaign is celebrating that it now has a majority of total possible pledged delegates with more than 1,627 out of a possible 3,253. This number does not include Florida’s nor Michigan’s pledged delegates, nor any of the unpledged delegates.
Clinton dismisses the milestone because the number excludes Michigan and Florida, both of whom were stripped of all their delegates after both states moved their primaries up early in violation of Democratic Party rules.
Obama is making his case to the unpledged delegates, also known as superdelegates–elected officials and other party leaders whose votes will end up deciding the nominee at this point–that he is the people’s choice to lead his party to victory this fall.
Clinton remains steadfast in her quest for the nomination and vowed Tuesday that she will not quit.
“You know, I am so grateful for this victory and I am so appreciative because tonight I’m thinking about why we’re all here. And it’s not just to win a Primary or even just to win an election. What propels us is the struggle to realize America’s promise, a nation where every child can achieve his or her God-given potential. Where every man and woman has a fair chance,” Clinton said.
“Some have said your votes didn’t matter, that this campaign is over, that allowing everyone to vote and have every vote count was somehow a mistake,” she said in Louisville, Kentucky. “But that didn’t stop you. You have never given up on me because you know I’ll never give up on you.”
“This is one of the closest races for a party’s nomination in our nation’s history,” Clinton said.
“And I want you to remember we are in this race because we believe that every single American deserves quality, affordable health care, no exceptions, no one left out,” Clinton said.
Obama spoke to supporters in Des Moines, Iowa, where he picked up his first victory of the season back in January 2008.
“It is good to be back in Iowa. I love you back, Iowa…” Obama said. “You know, fifteen months ago in the depths of winter it was in this great state that we took the first steps of an unlikely journey to change America. The skeptics predicted we wouldn’t get very far. The cynics dismissed us as too much hype and a little too much hope.”
“Many of you have been disappointed by politics and politicians more times than you can count. You’ve seen promises broken, good ideas drowned in the sea of influence and point-scoring and petty bickering that’s consumed Washington. And you’ve been told over and over… to be cynical and doubtful and even fearful… and yet… you came out on a cold winter’s night in January in numbers this country has never seen and you stood for change,” Obama said.
“You stood for change and because you did a few more stood up, and then a few thousand stood up and then a few million stood up,” Obama said.
“Tonight, Iowa, in the fullness of spring with the help of those who stood up from Portland to Louisville, we have returned to Iowa with a majority of delegates elected by the American people and you have put us in reach of the Democratic nomination for President of the United States of America.”
While Obama moved another step closer to the nomination, his blowout loss in Kentucky highlights his continuing struggle with Whites, blue collar workers, and older voters, who came out in droves for Clinton. Clinton won with 65% of the vote, while Obama received 30% in Kentucky.
Obama continues to excel with Blacks, wealthy voters, the college-educated, and young voters.
Even though Kentucky has more Black voters than Oregon, Obama fared much better in Oregon because of its heavy concentration of affluent, college-educated, and college-age voters.
And while independents and even some Republicans have come out for Obama in other contests, he could not pick up these extra votes Tuesday because both Oregon and Kentucky were closed Democratic Primaries.
Some Democrats worry that if Obama becomes the nominee, Clinton supporters will not support him this November.
A CNN television exit poll Tuesday showed 56 percent of Clinton voters in Kentucky would either not vote, or vote for presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain, if Obama is the nominee.
On the other hand, 71 percent of Obama supporters in Kentucky said they would vote for Clinton if she is the nominee.
Obama reached out to Clinton Tuesday in an effort to begin healing the party by thanking Clinton for “her courage and her commitment and her perseverance” and calling her “one of the most formidable candidates to ever run for this office.”
Other CNN exit polls in Kentucky and Oregon showed respondents believe overwhelmingly that Obama will be the nominee and the numbers appear to back this up.
Obama maintains a lead in number of contests won and in pledged delegates.
However, Clinton is arguing that she leads the popular vote if she includes Florida and Michigan and excludes the states which hold Caucuses rather than Primary Elections, which are Iowa, Maine, and Nevada.
“We’re winning the popular vote and I’m more determined than ever to see that every ballot is cast and that every vote is counted,” Clinton said Tuesday.
“I’m told that more people have voted for me than anyone who’s every run for the Democratic nomination. That’s more than 17 million votes. Now why, why do millions keep turning out to vote in the face of naysayers and skeptics? Because you know that our political process is more than candidates running or the pundits chattering or the ads blaring. It’s about the path we choose as a nation and whether or not we will solve our toughest problems,” Clinton said.
Clinton has received 17,408,441 votes and Obama has received 17,230,120 votes, including Florida and Michigan, according to abcnews.go.com/politics
Obama won the Iowa, Maine, and Nevada Caucuses but it is impossible to count the popular votes there because the Democratic National Committee (DNC) did not release those vote totals.
When Florida and Michigan are excluded, however, Obama leads with 16,653,906 votes while Clinton leads with 16,209,146 votes.
“Some may see the millions upon millions of votes cast for each of us as evidence that our party’s divided,” Obama said Tuesday. “But I see it as proof that we have never been more energized and united in our desire to take this country in a new direction.”
Clinton continues to demand the Party seat the Michigan and Florida delegations at the Democratic National Convention in August 2008, arguing those voters should not be punished for politicians’ mistakes and that any Democrat needs both states to become President of the US.
Clinton won Michigan and Florida in January 2008 with 55 and 50 percent of the vote, respectively. Obama received 33 percent of the Florida vote while his name did not appear on Michigan’s ballot. Forty percent voted “uncommitted” there.
“I’m going to keep standing up for the voters of Florida and Michigan,” she said. “Democrats in those two states cast 2.3 million votes and they deserve to have those votes counted.”
The DNC Rules Committee will meet May 31, 2008, to discuss what to do with Michigan and Florida. Some people have suggested dividing all the delegates from both states evenly between the two campaigns. Some have suggested creating an arbitrary compromise somewhere between an even split and proportional allotment, while still others have suggested both states vote again.
Regardless of what is decided May 31, the race for the Democratic nomination looks to go on at least through June 3, 2008, when all contests are complete.
Puerto Rico will hold a Primary June 1 before Montana and South Dakota wrap up the nominating season on June 3.
Neither candidate is likely to have the necessary delegates to obtain the nomination after all votes are cast in these three states, even if Michigan and Florida are included.
Clinton could choose to end her campaign after June 3 or hang her hopes on a solution to the Michigan-Florida quagmire and take her chances at the Convention.
The latter choice could lead to a scenario where multiple ballots are cast, while both campaigns engage in a belligerent floor fight to sway pledged delegates and superdelegates to their side, leaving a party too divided to take on McCain in the fall.
“Whatever happens, I’ll work as hard as I can to elect a Democratic president this fall,” Clinton said Tuesday. “We will come together as a party united by common values and a common cause…”
“More than anything, we need this unity in the months to come because while our Primary has been long and hard fought, the hardest and most important part of our journey lies ahead,” Obama said.
About the author:
Jonathan Springston is a Senior Staff Writer for Atlanta Progressive News. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor and may be reached at email@example.com
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