Posted: June 3, 2008 10:19 PM
Five Months After First Win in Iowa, Obama Wins Final Contest in Montana
Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama was boosted by a win in the final voting state of Montana Tuesday night, along with a steady stream of super delegate endorsements to reach the party’s total delegate majority.
Voters in the Treasure State savored their rare moment in the political spotlight and enjoyed visits from both Democratic candidates.
“We are the last primary in the country and we’ve had more politicos in here than we’ve had in years,” voting volunteer Ernie Franceschi said to the Washington Post in Derry, Mont. “Bill Clinton was eating hamburgers at the Montana Club the other day.”
Both candidates and their spouses have crossed the state in the weeks leading up to the Tuesday primary, making stops in small towns such as Kalispell and larger population centers such as Billings and Bozeman.
Montana Democratic Party spokesman Kevin O’Brien said he believes the drawn-out primary race helped to strengthen Democrat voters in his state.
“The two presidential campaigns have gotten folks energized and excited, and they’ve also gotten people involved,” he told the Montana Standard. “I’ve seen more folks canvassing in a primary than ever before.”
Despite the Illinois senator’s popularity among super delegates and the majority in Montana, some were inspired by Clinton’s ability to break down barriers for her gender.
Clinton supporter Caryl Wickes-Connick, 77, told the Post that Montana was a state where more men voted for women’s suffrage than voted against it.
“I want my granddaughters to know that in Montana, men helped women to get the vote,” Wickes-Connick said.
According to exit polling conducted for the Associated Press, voters in Montana said the economy was their most important issue, and many believed Obama would best be able to fix it.
The Illinois senator addressed both his win in Montana and his clinching of the Democratic delegate majority Tuesday night in a speech at the St. Paul, Minn., building that will host the Republican convention later this summer.