Delegates Gained In West Virginia Offset by Obama


May 14, The Wall Street Journal

Hillary Clinton trounced Barack Obama in West Virginia's Democratic presidential primary, as expected. But her negligible payback in convention delegates illustrates why her rival and her party are turning away from her candidacy to begin the fight against Republican John McCain.

Looking beyond the nomination race, Sen. Obama spent Tuesday elsewhere, in Missouri, before heading to Michigan to campaign there Wednesday. Both swing states held their primaries long ago, but are crucial in the general election. The Illinois senator spent little time campaigning in West Virginia, whose mostly white and working-class Democratic voters are the sort who have been far more receptive to Sen. Clinton.

"I am more determined than ever to carry on this campaign until everyone has had a chance to make their voices heard," Sen. Clinton told supporters at a victory rally in Charleston Tuesday night.

Yet with the end in sight, and many Democrats fretful of continued intraparty strife, her fighting spirit was tempered by conciliatory notes toward Sen. Obama.

"Yes, we've had a few dust-ups along the way, but our commitment to bring America new leadership that will renew America's promise means that we have always stood together on what is most important," she said. In closing, she promised, "I will work my heart out for the Democratic nominee."

Sen. Clinton's Mountain State blowout was only her second such landslide victory in the 51 primaries and caucuses to date. She will get most of the state's 28 pledged delegates to the Democrats' August convention.

But Sen. Obama also will get some delegates under party rules allocating them by each candidate's share of the vote. And offsetting Sen. Clinton's likely gains are Sen. Obama's pickup of 27 superdelegates -- the elected officials and party officers who can support the candidate of their choice -- since his better-than-expected showings in the North Carolina and Indiana primaries May 6.

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photo: Hillary Clinton told supporters Tuesday at her victory rally that they shouldn't count her out of the Democratic race (Reuters)