Clinton’s huge West Virginia win changes little
The delegate math still favors Obama despite her better than 2-to-1 victory Tuesday.
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In her victory speech in Charleston, W.Va., Clinton highlighted the coming election in November, again trying to make the case that she is the stronger nominee in a battle against McCain. “The bottom line is this: The White House is won in the swing states, and I am winning the swing states,” she told a cheering crowd, after noting that no Democrat has won the presidency without winning West Virginia since 1916.Skip to next paragraph
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But she also took a conciliatory tone toward Obama, praising him as a strong candidate, and noting that “I will work my heart out for the nominee of the Democratic Party, to make sure we have a Democratic president.”
Despite Clinton’s claim that she is the stronger nominee, the math looks insurmountable. She trails Obama by 159 pledged delegates - a fact that her greater portion of West Virginia’s 28 delegates will do little to change. And this week she fell behind him in the number of committed superdelegates as well.
She has hoped that she could claim a majority of the popular vote. But even if Florida were counted and she were to win Kentucky next week with 65 percent of the vote, Obama would still be ahead in the popular vote by 150,000 as long as he wins the remaining states in which he is leading by slim margins, says Gerald Pomper, a retired political science professor at Rutgers University. “Even if she were to win Oregon, which she’s not trying to do, I don’t think she’d have a chance at the nomination.”
Still, he and others expect Clinton to remain in the race at least through the final primary vote on June 3. She has repeatedly said that she believes every Democratic vote needs to be counted, and there is little for her to gain by dropping out now, analysts say.
“I would expect her to stay in the race if only because she may still hold out hope that the unexpected will happen,” says Professor Pitney. “And the lives of the Clintons have been full of the unexpected.”
In another widely watched election Tuesday night, Travis Childers, the Democratic chancery clerk in Mississippi’s first congressional district, beat Republican Greg Davis, the mayor of Southaven, in a special runoff election, taking a seat Republicans have held since 1994.
The win was the third US House seat in a row that Democrats have taken from Republicans in special elections. It not only added to the Democrats’ majority in the House but also gives them new momentum heading into November as they make gains in traditionally GOP territory.
“[Childers’s] victory has sent a political thunderbolt across America tonight,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen in a statement. “It is yet another rejection of the House Republican agenda, the Bush Administration’s misguided policies, and John McCain’s campaign for a third Bush term.”