West Virginia: Hillary Clinton scored a crushing win over Barack Obama in West Virginia’s primary and vowed to fight on, despite doing little to loosen his stranglehold on the Democratic White House race.
Clinton piled up a two-to-one winning ratio over Obama as votes were counted, in a contest which highlighted African-American Obama’s struggle to win white, working class voters who will play a key role in November’s general election.
“You will never quit, and I won’t either,” Clinton told cheering supporters at her victory rally here. “There are some who have wanted to cut this race short,” Senator Clinton said. “I am more determined than ever to carry on with this campaign until everyone has had their chance to make their voices heard,” she said, in a apparent hint she will carry on through the five remaining nominating contests.
With 56% votes in, Clinton led Senator Obama by 65% to 28% in the poor, mountainous state.
But with only 28 of the 2,025 pledged delegates needed for the nomination, the West Virginia contest was not sufficient to upset the mathematical equation in the race, which Obama leads by every metric -- pledged delegates, party insiders or superdelegates, the popular vote and nominating contests won.
Clinton convinced she is the best candidate
Clinton was conciliatory towards her rival, saying “I deeply admire Senator Obama,” adding that she would support the nominee of her party in November. But she also bluntly stated her belief that she was the best candidate to lead the Democrats against Republican John McCain in the November presidential election.
“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 of 2009.”
Obama had already conceded the primary and was in the general-election battleground of Missouri as results came in, as he geared up for a contest with McCain. Clinton meanwhile fired off a fundraising appeal within an hour of polls closing, underscoring her desperate need for cash to carry on.
Exit polls cited by MSNBC showed that Clinton won white voters by 68% to 28 for Obama, and won 72% of those earning less than $50,000, compared to her foe’s 24%.
Worryingly for Obama, who is vying to become America’s first black president, Fox News exit data said 51% of voters believed that he shared the views of his controversial former pastor Jeremiah Wright, who sparked a crisis for his campaign with racially tinged sermons.
Still, Clinton’s odds grew longer ahead of the West Virginia vote count as Obama racked up more superdelegates, including Roy Romer, a former governor of Colorado, to his side. Romer, who was a national co-chairman of president Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign in 1996, said “Senator Clinton has been a very strong and formidable candidate.