May 13th, 2008
10:45 PM ET
10 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. Tyrone Brown

    West Virginia has spoken and Hillary a reason to celebrate. That said, it is not a matter of "if" but "when" she will begin to work on the next phase of her campaign, when she gracefully concede, work s to unify the party, and spends her time and energy helping the Obama Movement win in November.

    May 14, 2008 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  2. lw

    well the 'big win' didn't boost her margin in terms of delegates by much... it's still the same so this is just a hype... lol

    May 14, 2008 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  3. Utenica

    I think most of the people that write in are racist and cnn is fueling the fire. When I see wright dancing at the pulpit saying disdainful words, taking our Lord's name in vain and most of the congregation agreeing – I have to think twice about this guy obama. Tonight CNN's commentators all had long faces and it was so obvious how they felt. I turned to Bill O'Reilly... Native people say that obama will help us. I truely feel he won't...Let us see if he sends money to help Indian Health Service or support Indian Education.

    May 14, 2008 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  4. Mary in Reno

    I am so happy that Hillary won. Please let this woman have her moment Obama fans as you know your rock star and "Golden Boy" will go all the way. Hillary has worked just as hard on the campaign trail (with less money too) and has never taken off for three days to the Virgin Islands to get away from the stress of Rev. Wright. Please give her the respect she deserves and let her go out in her own blaze of glory. I will vote for Obama to keep the country unified (and hope Hillary will be on the ticket) but if you keep this bickering up, I can see why people want to sit home. Let's be good democrats, keep the peace, stay united and congratulate someone when they win. The media has never been on Hillary's side and it's time now for Obama to have some challenges as he will soon certainly against MCCain. Good luck but I think Hillary has fought hard and deserves respect.

    May 14, 2008 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  5. Sam C

    Maybe you Hillary supporter's should take a look at the margin of victory in Senator Obama's wins over Hillary. Obama's percentage on the left and Hillary's on the right! Hello!

    Idaho 82.2% 17.8%
    Hawaii 76.2% 23.8%
    District of Columbia 75.8% 24.2%
    Alaska 74.6% 25.4%
    Kansas 74.2% 25.8%
    Washington 68.4% 31.6%
    Georgia 68.1% 31.9%
    Minnesota 67.4% 32.6%
    Colorado 67.3% 32.7%
    Illinois 66.3% 33.7%
    Virginia 64.2% 35.8%
    North Dakota 62.6% 37.4%
    Mississippi 62.2% 37.8%
    Maryland 61.9% 38.1%
    Wyoming 61.9% 38.1%
    Louisiana 61.7% 38.3%
    Vermont 60.6% 39.4%

    May 14, 2008 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  6. April




    HILLARY 2008

    May 14, 2008 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  7. Marge Hibbing Mn

    Why- when obama had the BLACK voters of South Carolina voting for him that was so so wonderful according to the presss.

    But in West Virginia where the white voters went for Senator Clinton they are considered racist. Double standard as it has always been. If the DNC gives this nomination to obama the Democratic Party will be no more.
    obama has done more to split this Democratic Party in to then the republicans ever dared. He has completed ruined it. He will no more win in the GE election than a stick.

    Hillary won EVER SINGLE SOLITARY COUNTY...obama didn't do that in South Carolina. This shows that the real Democratic states in this country WON'T vote for obama and he will lose this election for us and it is the DNC and MSM fault.

    May 14, 2008 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  8. Benjamin from Wyoming

    Come on West Virginia. Look at the Rocky Mountain states – states with mountains and people who tower above your mountains. Many of our people are descendants of the pioneers who left your part of the country to face the future and an unknown and incredible wilderness. We are voting for the future and are excited to step into the 21st century. It sure appears that you want to stay stuck in the 20th century.

    Rocky Mountain states like Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Colorado, and Idaho all voted for Barack Obama. We didn't fall for the muslim, preacher, racist rhetoric you fell for. Now Montana (another mighty Rocky Mountain state) is going to weigh in and Montana is Obama country. We love to hunt, fish and we love our diverse faiths as well. We know the truth about what Barack's life is about and we love him. I sure hope you wake up and decide to walk into the 21st century during the national election. The future is scary but it's time you got on the train because it's headed into the 21st century.

    May 14, 2008 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  9. Nathan

    Can you feel the sneering derision from Obama supporters toward real America? The bit in between Harvard and UCLA.

    May 14, 2008 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  10. Cindy

    Why did West Virginians turn out for Mrs. Clinton? Maybe all the coal dust has affected their thinking? I'm being sarcastic of course, but they must be brain-damaged to think that she genuinely cares about the blue collar worker in WV or anywhere else. The ONLY person she truly cares about is herself and her own ruthless ambition. This stand-by-your-man-for-all-his-political-connections kind of woman would say or do anything to get ahead, include pandering with a proposed gas tax holiday that every Economist thinks is a BAD idea. Oh yes, and we're supposed to believe that her continuing in this race is about the American People, Democracy, let the people vote etc. etc. What a load of COAL....I'll stay HOME in the fall if she becomes the Democratic Party Candidate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 14, 2008 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  11. Nathan

    To the amateur psephologist who is bemoaning Hillary's real electoral advantage: 56% of W.Virginian's are Democrats. Bush won 56% in 2004. Can you say Reagan Democrat?

    May 14, 2008 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  12. Rene

    This shows that West Virgina is still just as RACIST as ever. My father is from West Virgina and when i was a little girl and my fatber would take me back there to visit my father's folks. West Virgina is not a friendly place for people who is not White. This is so sad. Obama have to just hope these people will wake up one day.

    May 14, 2008 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  13. John

    It is 1.35AM- With 98%IN,Hillary is at 67% with234,813votes.Obama at 26% with 90,258 votes.A costant 40% lead by Hillary.It could'nt be better.A trend of better things to come!!! Yes we Will win with Hillary!!

    May 14, 2008 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  14. Rosheeka-Texas

    Obama supporters you are out of your mind if you think he can win the general election! In the words of Malcom X you've been hoodwinked, bamboozled. It's time you face the realities now. Your candidate is winning states that, no doubt, will be RED in November! A vote for Obama is a vote for McCain. Please put on your thinking caps and stop living a dream. Martin's dream was meant to be reality not state of stupidity. I along with many Clinton supporters will not vote Obama in. I will write Hillary in before I vote for either Obama or McCain. Let's hope it won't come to that and super delegates want to win in 08. Otherwise Go Hillary 2012!

    Your candidate is horrific and will be eaten alive up against Republicans! African Americans you should be utterly ashamed of playing the race card when people have legitamate concerns of racism and prejudice in this country. How seriously will they be taken now with every vowel out of Hillary's mouth is called racism. You aren't doing the African American community a favor here. GET A GRIP. Oh and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are not the measuring sticks of a great presidential candidate, past presidents are and Obama can't compare.

    And finally my conspiracy theory: Obama is being paid by republicans hence the republican support he has. Political support is gained through promise and compromise. Therefore I will not vote for someone who is willing to compromise with the republican agenda we have seen the last 8 yrs.

    Keeping it REAL: Yes I am African-America, 27, and degreed.

    May 14, 2008 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  15. Ivan from WV

    Sen. Obama will not will the general election if he is on the top of the ticket. You can see the results in WV a key democratic state, Sen. Obama didn't win even a single county. Time to Rethink..

    May 14, 2008 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  16. lilacs

    Americans made abig mistake in 2004 electing Bush, 2000 was a supreme court give away, and they still have not learned anything! Now it looks like nobama will get the nomationand we will be just as bad off if not worst. The only thing nobama going to change is his job . The guy has no insight other than for hisself. As for me I will not vote for him or Mccain. Write-in time. Hillary all the way.

    May 14, 2008 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  17. John Smith

    I do not get this–

    Hillary is out there having fun at duping people, trying to collect more money to pay down some of her debts, and people are getting worked up on these blogs.

    If by now Hillary, with all her so-called experience, does not know that Obama has this nomination sealed, then I seriously question her judgement. I equally question the judgement of her "hardcore" followers who cannot look at the math! There is just no way Hillary can get the nomination this time. She started out with so much going for her; she has to be blamed for messing this one up.

    Finally, I think of this as I think of Bush. He started out with so much, and he screwed up on all fronts!!!

    May 14, 2008 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  18. dwho

    A good turn out is a good turn out. Hillary won. Did John McCain congratulate her? That give me a chill in my spin. McCain has not congratulated any of the Demoncratic candidates in this on going primary until now. This is a clear indication that the Republicans are satified with all the haul and pull that Hillary is doing to rift the Demoncrats apart. This is not the general election to say McCain conceded. The truism that Hillary is a Republican is be revealed today. She is a wolf in sheep clothing. A Republican pretending to be a Demoncrat. Shame, Shame and shame on her part for using the Demoncratic Party and voters in a misleading and misspoken ways. LOL.

    May 14, 2008 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  19. Matt

    West Virginia is to Clinton what a state comprised solely of young, educated Black voters would be to Obama. This should come as no surprise to anyone. Obama will win Montana, South Dakota and Oregon, Clinton will win Kentucky and Puerto Rico and we will soon be looking at Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama.

    May 14, 2008 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  20. Sean, CA

    I for one want a President that impresses me, not a President I can see myself having a beer with. This country smybolizes freedom and prosperity around the world, we need to show that we hold no prejudices. Lets not vote on a candidates race or sex, but rather his or her stance on the issues. Hillary Clinton is a great symbol for woman and she has done a great job campaigning. Barack Obama has done an outstanding job of reviving politics amongst the youth, and has inspired this country. We need to give them both credit where credit is due. I think we need to remember the evils we face in the 21st century. This is no time for childish grudges, it is time to unite around the Democratic nominee. We are going to face issues such as global warming, the war in iraq, the economy, roe v. wade, national security, international relations, to name a few.

    To all the woman who claim they will stay home or vote for McCain: you are either 1) not a democrat or 2) not thinking logically. If McCain is elected you will lose your right to have an abortion, you're friends and family will remain in Iraq for decades, the economy will continue to decline, and this country will remain dependent on oil eventually leading to the loss of beloved species (polar bear) as well as the loss of our status as a superpower. The international community already looks down upon us due to the terror we have caused in the Middle East.

    Barack Obama '08 / Democrats '08 (Save this country!)

    May 14, 2008 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  21. mike

    She only appeals to the blue collar and uneducated voters. I guess that says alot for West Virginia. Remember she said that the uneducated were her strongest followers....I wouldnt call them supporters since it is more like a clan with her. They cannot tell the difference between her lies so they think everything is the truth. We are all ashamed of you now West Virginia.

    May 14, 2008 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  22. Dee

    I felt sad watching the results. I was hoping that the people of WV would somehow show that 'hard working whites' have also been following stories about sniper fire and question Hillary's honesty; having voted for Bill twice and listened to him lie about Monica and pardon criminal friends before leaving office they would pause and reflect; that if they were so worried about the economy they might wonder why a candidate seems unable to handle her campaign's budget. Alas they were still talking about flag pins; one man commented that Obama ignored the national anthem (where do they get these stories?) another person claimed she didn't vote for Obama because he's a Muslim. And then they raised the Rev. Wright again. Did they ever wonder why Hillary spent so many years with a sex addict/predator and didn't renounce him? Obama would not have gotten so far ahead of Clinton if people of all races, economic and educational backgrounds, male and female, young and old ...had not come together to vote for him. I found it exciting watching this all happen. If it could happen in America – perhaps there was hope for the world. I still believe that is possible. No, Hillary should not be his VP – she has a 'lean and hungry look' and he would have to keep looking over his shoulder. He needs someone capable of inspiring others, bringing people together through their similarities and common goals (healing the country's economic woes and getting out of the war). Not someone who brings people together out of their fear of differences.

    May 14, 2008 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  23. geriatric

    Hillary's supporters remind me of a RICKY NELSON song.

    " Fools rush in
    where wise men never go"

    May 14, 2008 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  24. John Smith

    I am now more determined than ever to:

    –get your limited and hard-worked dollars
    –get Bill back to the White House
    –tell you more lies
    –give you more scandals
    –pay off my huge debts
    (please feel free to add on)

    May 14, 2008 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  25. Sheri

    Sorry Hillary supporters, She has lost. Hillary is competing with herself, like a dog chasing it's own tail.

    May 14, 2008 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
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