Posted: March 5, 2008 12:52 AM
Clinton Projected to Defeat Obama in Critical Ohio Race
Sen. Hillary Clinton, N.Y., pulled out a win in Ohio, besting Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., according to the media projections.
Most political analysts said that Clinton desperately needed to win Ohio to remain in the race for the White House, as 141 delegates were up for grabs in the state.
Most news networks, including NBC and The New York Times, called the state for Clinton late Tuesday, but The Associated Press held off until 12:30 a.m. Wednesday to put the Buckeye State in her column.
Why the nervousness? Well, The New York Times’s Andy Jacobs painted this picture of the vote count in Cuyahoga County (the most populous in the state) late Tuesday:
“Workers are still swamped in paper ballots. As of 11:15 pm, a line of white rental trucks was still lined up outside a board of elections warehouse … We’re going to be here all night,” one worker groaned, gesturing to a pile of uncounted ballot boxes about the size of an elephant.”
Despite the media’s hesitation in calling the vote, Clinton declared victory in the Buckeye State during a speech Tuesday night in Columbus.
“For everyone here in Ohio and across America who’s ever been counted out but refused to be knocked out, for everyone who has stumbled but stood right back up, and for everyone who works hard and never gives up, this one is for you,” Clinton told an enthusiastic crowd of around 1,000 supporters.
Clinton won among white women, men and older voters, while Obama won a strong victory among black voters, according to exit polling conducted for the Associated Press. A fifth of white Ohio voters said that race was an important issue. Of those, 75 percent voted for Clinton. And one in five Democrats in Ohio who said gender was important to their vote, and they voted six in 10 for Clinton.
The economy was the most important issue for Ohioans, with six in 10 Democratic voters saying it’s the most important issue facing the country — more than in any of the other 25 Democratic primaries with exit polls this year.
“This nation is coming back and so is this campaign … Ohio has written a new chapter in the history of this campaign,” Clinton said.
The Ohio primary was open to all voters, and Republicans voting in the Democratic primary voted six in 10 for Obama, while independents split between Clinton and Obama.
Cleveland, where Obama was expected to have a strong showing, had yet to report full results when Clinton declared victory.
But as Obama spoke to supporters in San Antonio, where watched the primary results, he all but conceded Ohio to Clinton.
“Ohio … it looks like she won there, too,” Obama said. “I want to congratulate Senator Clinton on a hard-fought race in both Ohio and Rhode Island. No matter what happens tonight, we have nearly the same delegate lead as we did this morning, and we are on our way to winning this nomination.”
Voting in Ohio was hampered by ballot shortages and by poor weather.
“It just took us by total and complete surprise,” Mike Keeley, director of the Clermont County Board of Elections, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We’ve never experienced anything like this.”