Since her resounding defeat in North Carolina and disappointingly narrow win in Indiana last week, Sen. Hillary Clinton has faced calls from all directions that she give up her 2008 presidential aspirations. The New York senator looks to silence her critics and prove her viability in Tuesday’s West Virginia primary, where she is expected to beat opponent Sen. Barack Obama by a 36-point margin.
A recent Suffolk University Poll shows Clinton with a 60 percent to 24 percent lead over the Illinois senator. Although the state carries only 28 delegates, Clinton will need a wide lead to maintain any remote chance of catching up to her opponent.
The rivals courted Mountain State voters Monday, with Clinton making stops in smaller towns and cities such as Clear Fork, Logan and Fairmont. Both candidates spoke in Charleston, the capital.
Some in West Virginia, which is ripe with white, working-class voters, say they’ll only support Clinton in the general election.
Even Obama admitted Clinton’s advantage in the state, thanking voters for their support but conceding that “many more here in West Virginia will probably support Senator Clinton,” he said at an event in Charleston.
Even with his rival’s distinct advantage in West Virginia, Obama leads Clinton in both the pledged and super delegate counts, and a large win for Clinton would tighten the gap slightly.
With November’s general election on his mind, Obama shifted from the state vote to the national issue of veterans’ care — a key concern for voters in West Virginia, which has sent many service members overseas.
“When it’s over, what will unify us as Democrats — what must unify us as Americans — is an unyielding commitment to the men and women who’ve served this nation and an unshakable fidelity to the ideals for which they’ve risked their lives,” he said, according to CBS News.
After Monday morning’s rally in Charleston, Obama headed to Louisville to meet with voters ahead of Kentucky’s May 20 primary. Later this week, he travels to South Dakota and Oregon, which also have upcoming primary contests.
Clinton will hold an election night rally Tuesday in Charleston.