May 13th, 2008
10:45 PM ET
6 years ago

Why West Virginians turned out for Clinton

Clinton’s West Virginia supporters say they weren't swayed by grim pundit assessments.
Clinton’s West Virginia supporters say they weren't swayed by grim pundit assessments.

CHARLESTON, West Virginia (CNN) –There was never much of a question about who would win the West Virginia primary. The electorate is made up of older, white, blue-collar voters that have become Hillary Clinton's base.

But they've also been hearing a week of speculation that Obama's path to the nomination is inevitable. So why turn out?

"I think she's got the experience to get us out of a deep hole," said Johnny Nance, a preservation contractor who owns the building in Huntington where Clinton has a campaign office. "You can't win this country's [presidency] without winning West Virginia. We've picked them the whole 20th century," added Nance before saying he'd support whomever the Democratic nominee is.

"She's brilliant," said Veda Hughes, 58, joined by three friends at Clinton's victory party Tuesday night.

Does the impression the New York senator can't win bother her? "Heck no! No! We're in this 'til the end, it doesn't bother us at all!"

"I think Obama is a wonderful speaker and I love what he says but I think Hillary has the experience, she knows what's going on. She tells what she's going to do," added companion Amy Wade, 35.

Several people pointed to potential baggage Obama could carry into the general election.

"I don't think his wife has been a credit to him, I don't think his minister has been a credit to him," said Diane Givens.

Surgical technician Jeremy Elswick, 30, agreed that Wright was a negative and said Obama didn't do enough to woo the voters of West Virginia. "He just seemed like he had his nose up in the air. She seems like she's for the blue-collar people of West Virginia."

Clinton heads to Oregon - considered Obama-friendly territory - on Friday before campaigning in Kentucky, a state whose demographics are very similar to West Virginia's.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • West Virginia
soundoff (270 Responses)
  1. oti

    still missing....my happiest is that you guys got my deal

    May 14, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  2. JOANN

    HILLARY AND BARACK NO WAY. AT FIRST I LIKED BOTH, BUT BARACK IS PLAYING FOR THE BLACK VOTE ONLY, THAT IS WHY HE WAS A NO SHOW IN WEST VIRGINIA. 4% BLACK VOTE. FIRST TIME VOTERS [BLACK] ARE VOTING ON RACE, NOT ISSUES. BARACK HAS NOT THE HISTORY, ONLY BLACK HISTORY. THE REPUBLICIANS, MORE THAN LIKELY HAVE SOME THING THEYRE HOLDING BACK ABOUT BARACK.. IT IS TOO RISKY. DEMS ARE PLAYING RIGHT INTO THE REPUBLICANS HANDS....... THEY WANT BARACK........ ISN'T THE CONSERVERATIVE, FAIR AND BALANCED NETWORK THE ONES THAT EXPOSED THE REV. WRIGHT STORY??? THANK YOU LARRY, JO ANN FROM OHIO

    May 14, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  3. Obama won

    Bitter people cling to guns, religion, hate and Hillary.

    May 14, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  4. GREGG LA

    TO ALL OF YOU OBAMA SUPPOTERS,
    WE'RE GOING ANYWHERE WHERE HERE TILL HAVE NOMINEE
    DEAL WITH THAT...

    May 14, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  5. Granny

    there was never much question about who would win NC either but he definitely didn't win it by 40%.

    May 14, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  6. Obama 08/12

    Where is this experience ?
    Hillary had her work cutout for herself
    in fallowing Bill to see what he was up to or on for a long period of time and same type goings on for years before this is this what you relate to as experience?
    Is Bosnia fabrication / lies experience ?
    Is the gas tax to mislead people experience ?
    Is voting for this uncalled war and over 4,000 have lost their lives ,and thousands injured not to mention all the Iraq's that have lost lives or all the money spent on this war considered Hillarys experience?
    Her experience is a farce and just something to keep harping on that has no meaning.
    Be carefull Hillary as the door hits you in the rear as you leave.

    May 14, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  7. anonymous

    Helena, Hillary won THE ENTIRE state! I don't recall Senator Obama being able to win the whole state. Do you? Can you also find at least 1 county in any state that Senator Obama won in which he got 88% of the vote? I CAN'T!!! I AM WITH HILLARY ALL THE WAY!!! After today's victory and hearing John King say that Sen. Obama doesn't care about West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvannia and Ohio (You didn't hear that?), I have a hard time believing that Sen. Obama will be the nominee, or that he can win the General Election.

    May 14, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  8. spencer

    Way to go Hillary...Contested Convention go for it............

    May 14, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  9. Obama won

    Mandy, California May 13th, 2008 11:56 pm ET

    "What is amazing to me is that Clinton who is worth $100 million took money from a child who sold his bike and viedo games to donate to her campaign!

    What is that about?"

    She took candy from a baby.

    May 14, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  10. Media Blackout May 15th

    The real qustion is, why didn't she get a bigger margin of a win?

    Obama visited the state ONCE
    Edwards is still picking up votes, why didn't they go to Hillary?

    HILLARY has the problem, not Obama.

    May 14, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  11. Danela

    I'm not racist, I will never vote for Obama! HE is the DEVIL in disguise. He does not give me good vibes and I just can't shake it. It does not matter what these talking heads say........I will not unite behind him. He is scary!

    May 14, 2008 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  12. Margaret

    Again, her first words in her victory speech 'send me money!'. This from a multi-millionaire to the people in a state considered one of the poorest in the country.

    Ignorant people still believe that Clinton has more experience than Obama. Being older doesn't mean you are more experienced. Being first ladeyfor 8 years doesn't mean you have more experience to be the president. (Does Laura Bush intend to run for president in the future?) Obama actually has more political experience, if you would check the facts instead of listening to someone who can't make up her mind what part of the country she is from or what group of people she represents more (white, rural, blue-collar, from Pennsylvania excuse me I meant Illinois, or was it Arkansas, oops, forgot I'm the senator from New York!!)

    I just hope people realize that 4 more years of McBush will mean that we will probably be answering to China (I think we already are), not to mention maybe another 4,000 young men/women who will have to give up their lives in a war half way across the world, where we should never have gone, more foreclosure, more tax-breaks for the rich (hey that includes the Clintons), $5/gallon for gas, etc....

    Go ahead and vote for McCain....one day you will have to answer for your choice!

    a 53 yr old hispanic/white Catholic female for Obama

    May 14, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  13. WV voter for Obama

    There is no conspiracy theory behind WV voting for Hillary by a large margin in order to keep the race ongoing. That would involve too much intellect to try and create that sort of plan. Plain and simple, the majority of WVians would not vote for a black man. It is a very sad situation that people cannot look past skin color and vote based on credentials (not saying that Hillary wouldn't make a good nominee, but I find Obama more personable and prefer his policies). The fact that WV would go for McCain over Obama if he were the nominee shows the bigotry of my state, and I'm actually ashamed of the voters in the exit poll results who think voting for McCain would be a better option, even though Hillary and Barack have fairly similar views.

    May 14, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  14. Media Blackout May 15th

    Please don't post

    WHY do you still have Lanny Davis on the show? He needs his pampers changed and I'm sick of watching Lanny the school girl whine!

    BRING IN THE CLOWNS ALREADY!

    May 14, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  15. Steve

    When will the DNC stop listening to Clinton wien about a process she agreed with when she thought this would be a sweep. Close only count in in horse shoes. Lanna needs to stop with the comments he is making.

    May 14, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  16. Tony B

    First of all it shouldn't be about "the Party"; it's about THE PEOPLE and THE COUNTRY. The reason many people who might vote for Hillary will NOT vote for Obama is because Obama is much more liberal, for example, Obama say's he will REPEAL the Defense Of Marriage Act . Both Bill and Hillary have proven to be more willing to work with the Conservatives and be more moderate to get things done. Remember Bill Clinton at first thought that he could allow gays to serve openly in the military; but, when he realized that this would not be possible "don't ask don't tell" was the best he could do so that's what he did.
    This idea that something is wrong with whites who won't vote for Obama or that they are racist is ridiculous considering that 92% of blacks are voting for Obama because he is black.
    It's ridiculous that people like Larry King are race-baiting by asking why some people won't vote for a black man and he say's "that's sad". It's Larry King who is sad. He say's himself that "Bill Clinton ran as a centrist " while at the same time act like he can't think of any reason that people who would vote for Hillary will NOT vote for Obama.
    Further, John McCain in a general election that he has differed with Bush on many issues and has differed with "Washington" politics on many issues as well.

    May 14, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  17. Mike F

    I have only been to West Virginia once, but if it is anything like the backward bunch of ignorant hillbillies that make up the state of Kentucky where I was born and raised until I was 18 and legally able to escape, then it is no wonder they voted on racist lines. I can tell you that Kentucky ranks in the bottom five states on every issue of any importance to human beings living in the 21st century and I wouldn't be surprised if WV was in the same bottom feeding pool.

    Clinton is a phony, lying, overly-ambitious machine politician who would do ANYTHING to get elected but it isn't going to work. A few uneducated, backward Ma & Pa Kettle types in place like WV and KY aren't going to stop Obama from becoming one of the most important presidents in American history.

    Put Bill & Hill back into the "cigar" and perjury business where they are tops and let's move on to something important: OBAMA!

    May 14, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  18. Abby

    THE PEOPLE IN WEST VIRGINIA ARE VERY VERY SMART!!!
    Thank YOU WV – now on to KY!
    Hillary Clinton won BIG tonight thanks to WV – she is the best candidate to win back the white house – and they know it – so do MILLIONS of others – blacks, whites, college, poor, rich – all Americans! Maybe obama should not take for granted the people of WV and at least visit these states that he feels he does not need – go and ask for a vote – or two next time!
    Really too bad the obama group is so mean, poor loosers, and really racist – just read the posts here – think we might all come together in the fall – think NOT!

    May 14, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  19. Central Oregon Mike

    Hillary is not a quiter. She's a fighter who does not give-up when the going gets tough. Obama on the other hand IS a Quiter when the going gets tough. He quit Indiana when it got close, he quit W. Virginia, and Kentucky.

    When things don't look like there going in his favor, he QUITS!!

    And should he become President and things get tough he'll quit on America.

    He's lack the experience, knowledge, and fortitude. He's just a QUITER!

    May 14, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  20. Sally

    Becase Obama already said it: they are "bitter"!!!

    May 14, 2008 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  21. jay

    West Virginia does matter as will Kentucky because people aren't just saying they will not vote for stinky BO. We mean it!! If Hillary isn't the nominee McCain will win the General Election. McCain has superior views about foreign policy and understands we must work with allies not alienate them by giving money to palesine and Hamas as Barack Obama has said we should... That would just fund more terrorist attacks. McCain is progressive on human rights issues. and he is environmentally minded. Obama will not beat McCain when the republican party turns out and half of the democratic party turns out to vote for him in November.

    May 14, 2008 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  22. Colleen from WV

    Being from West Virginia (which is a state Mitchell from Arkansas and if you were half as intelligent as you think then you would know that!), I have followed these two candidates for a while and listened to the things they have said, they actually both agree on alot of the same ideas but YES I DID VOTE FOR HILLARY, but IF and only IF, Obama does become the Democratic nominee then I will do what I can to persuade others in his favor but He did not even attempt to campaign here other than a few television and radio ads. Making us feel like we are not an important state (which by the way one of our Senators is very high up on the political ladder and not to mention that 80% of our country's power comes from WV coal!, and we not to mention the many other wonderful things about this state, maybe if some of you paid a little more attention in school you would know that!, but anyway Obama did not make our state feel like our vote mattered and he needs to do that in order to win, not just our state but others states that have similiar beliefs, people, and cultures! So people before you bad mouth West Virginia and the incredible lovely people of this state, maybe you should look at your own state and see what people say about it! If you ever would like a beautiful place to visit and some of the friendliest people you would ever meet, our state has all that and more and yes I AM A PROUD WEST VIRGINIAN, and it is ALMOST HEAVEN! GO HILLARY!! WE SUPPORT YOU!!!

    May 14, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  23. Sara

    If you can read this, you are too educated to be a member of HRC's base.

    May 14, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  24. Dave in MO

    The "presumptive" Democratic nominee only got roughly 1/4th of the vote in what will be a general election swing state. That's pathetic.

    May 14, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  25. Danela

    Leave it to Hillary to make something out of nothing. He outspends her everytime and she is still winning contests, no matter how small. That is why WV votes for Hillary, they are real people who have probably had to do the same at some point in their lives.

    May 14, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
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