Clinton Sweeps Obama for Win in West Virginia Primary

Is this the first stanza of her swan song or enough to keep her campaign going?

Sen. Hillary Clinton celebrated Tuesday night with a landslide victory in West Virginia’ Democratic primary. And, oh, what a win it was. She beat rival Sen. Barack Obama by a margin of two to one.

Clinton won at least 16 of the 28 delegates at stake in West Virginia, and Obama won at least seven, with five more to be allocated, according to the Associated Press. The Illinois senator now has 1,882 delegates, to Clinton’s 1,713, out of the 2,026 needed to clinch the nomination at the party convention in Denver this summer. In a Mississippi special election Tuesday, the Democratic win increased by one the number of delegates needed to win the nomination, according to the AP.

John McCain continued to pick up delegates, as the presumptive Republican nominee faced off against dark horse candidate Ron Paul in Nebraska’s nonbinding poll. Collecting 87% of the vote, the Arizona senator added 30 pledged delegates to his tally, giving him 1,289. He only needed 1,191 delegates to secure the nomination.

As with the other states in which Clinton has prevailed, her campaign was buoyed by support from predominantly white, blue-collar voters. Only 6.9% of West Virginians over age 25 are college educated, and a mere 3.2% are black. Clinton is also expected to lead, albeit by a smaller margin, in next week’s Democratic primary in Kentucky, which has a similar demographic make-up. But with just 51 delegates in play in the Bluegrass State, a victory could epitomize the concept of too little, too late. Are they simply Clinton’s last hurrah?

Not to hear the New York senator’s campaign tell it. Early in the day of the West Virginia primary, Clinton’s campaign sent out an e-mail message saying, “Sen. Clinton has already won Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan. With a win in West Virginia, [she] will have once again proven her greater ability to win in the key swing states.”

Clinton continued her “anything is possible” attitude. In remarks Tuesday night from Charleston she said, “Tonight I need your help to continue this journey. We are in the homestretch. There are only three weeks left in the final contests, and your support can make the difference between winning and losing. So I hope you’ll go to HillaryClinton.com and support our campaign.”

Although Clinton vowed she would work her “heart out” for the Democratic nomination to ensure the country gets a Democratic president, she also said, “In a campaign, it can be easy to get lost in the political spin and the polls or the punditry, but we must never lose sight of what really counts, of why all of us care so much about who wins and who loses in our political system. An enormous decision falls on the shoulders of Democratic voters in these final contests and those Democrats empowered to vote at our convention…I am in this race because I believe I am the strongest candidate–the strongest candidate to lead our party in November of 2008 and the strongest president to lead our nation starting

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