Senator Hillary Clinton's bid for the White House picked up a little steam Tuesday (May 13) with a much-needed win in the West Virginia primary. It is one of the final contests before the Democratic National Convention in Denver in late August, when the party's delegates will nominate their pick to face off against Republican Senator John McCain in November.
As anticipated, and projected by CNN as the polls closed at 7:30 p.m., Clinton pulled off a victory. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Clinton led 67 percent to Barack Obama's 26. Whether it will be the shot in the arm her campaign so desperately needs remains to be seen, amid reports that some Democratic leaders were urging Clinton to concede to Obama and join him as his vice-presidential running mate.
During a speech in Charleston, West Virginia, following her win, Clinton — who promised she would be a president "who's on your side again" — said she shares some similarities with her competition, citing "our commitment to bring new leadership to America." She was candid with the crowd, though, saying, "I need your help to continue this journey — we are in the homestretch, with only three weeks left, and your support can make the difference between winning and losing." She immediately plugged her Web site, as chants of "Hillary" echoed from the audience.
Clinton said she was strong enough to "go face-to-face with" McCain and "to put our vision of America up against the ones he shares with President Bush."
"Many wanted to declare a nominee before the ballots were counted, before they were cast," Clinton continued. "They said our campaign was over after Ohio. Then, New Hampshire came ... and then we came from behind to win in Indiana. The race isn't over yet. Neither of us has the total delegates it takes to win, and we both believe that the delegates from Florida and Michigan should be seated. We should count the votes in those states and see all of their delegates."
She urged her supporters to be steadfast, because the "choice falls to all of you." She said while she admires her opponent, "our case — one West Virginia has helped make — is stronger. We have won millions and millions of votes — probably close to 17 million before the night's over. The White House is won in the swing states, and I am winning the swing states, and we have done it by standing up for the deepest principles of our party, with a vision for an America that rewards hard work again, that values the middle class and helps make it stronger."
Clinton reiterated her stances on some of the issues that will be critical in this coming election. "I will stand with you as long as you stand with me," she said. "Together, we will draw the stark distinctions that will determine the future direction of this nation — the difference between ending the war in Iraq responsibly or continuing it indefinitely, between health care for everyone and more uninsured Americans, between standing up for the middle-class families that you represent or standing up for the corporate special interests."
Clinton's win follows a weekend of vigorous campaigning throughout West Virginia. Obama, meanwhile, told supporters Monday that he didn't expect to win in the Mountain State. He's said to be looking toward the future, as the number of his pledged delegates and superdelegates continues to climb. Over the weekend, the Illinois senator launched his 50-state voter-registration drive, which will be co-chaired by singers Dave Matthews and Melissa Etheridge and actress Kerry Washington.
Aside from also leading in the popular vote, Obama has secured more campaign funds than Clinton. Hers, according to CNN, is $20 million in the red.
After West Virginia, the campaign trail moves to Kentucky and Oregon, whose primaries are in one week. Clinton is expected to do well in Kentucky, but Obama is the favorite to win Oregon.
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[This story was originally published at 7:57 pm E.T. on 5.13.2008]