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. BB1953

    This site is pathetic. Talk about uneducated people.....this is the site for them. You don't know how campaign funds are reimbursed or if the candidate is allowed to reimburse themselves.

    Secondly, you talk all these negatives about the other candidate but then claim you aren't negative.

    You have no reason not to vote for either candidate that is honest or credible.

    And you not only attack the candidates, now you are attacking citizens of another state, the ones that know West Virginia is a state, because they didn't vote your way.

    And, West Virginia is not a southern state. Maybe you better read, at least the Obama supporters than can read, why West Virginia became a state. WV was against slavery, unlike the State of Virginia who was a Confederate state for slavery.

    Gee, maybe West Virginia made the wrong decision......hum..........

    May 14, 2008 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  2. Robert

    I have decided to shift to independent. Why??? becuase those "White blue collar voters" that indicate they will not vote if Obama is elected.
    1. I want to know (CNN take note) who allowed the two states to break the rules??? and why they were elected into office, is this any way to run a party? NO, this is not the dem-way for sure. Dems who vote one way are more Rep. TAKE A HIKE!
    2. Surely you Jest, if my choice does not win I will not vote or Vote Rep? hint...YOUR NOT A DEM NOW, SO TAKE A HIKE.
    3. Planted questions, Dodging sniper fire, send troops into Iraq vs. Writght. Not to mention a legacy of "I DID NOT HAVE SEXUAL REALATIONSHIPS WITH THAT WOMAN". Yea right...take a hike!
    In conclusion, I am shamed to even mention that I was one time Dem, a party that sets rules then (through money) attempts to justify an agreed upon rule violation. Why are we not discussing those elected to serve two States that decided "somehow" we are going to vote...without all the canadates? Dems should be all over those cowboys.
    Farewell Dem party, I will vote and if one vote counts I will not give it to the Dems.
    V/R,
    Robert

    May 14, 2008 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  3. stanford raymond

    Congratulations to Senator Clinton on her win in West Virginia , but it is not fair to be asking for the votes in Michigan and Florida to be counted since these two states did not follow the rules of the DNC. If you are planning to be the President of the USA, then senator you should set the example of fairness, do not ask the DNC to change the rules to suit you. This is dishonest.
    I like how Senator Obama tries to be polite and dignify. He surely looks like a States Man. One Democrat should not be putting down another Democrat, and why is it that everything in the USA has to be about Race? This is really bad,and shows that many Americans are still living oin the dark ages. I pray that you all will see people as human beings and not their colour. To be frank no one is really black or white. Take a sheet of white paper and a sheet of black and tell me if anyone cololur is like that.
    I just get caught up in the interesting Primaries that has been taking place, and it is one of the most exciting political exercise I have ever experience. Thanks to Hillary and Obama. Please let this exercise end well,because it will go dolwn in History I am a Canadian but I spend my time every day following these primaries. IK am almost certain that I know the political system ther than many odf the people who live in the USA. May the best person become the President.

    May 14, 2008 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  4. KE

    A question should be why West Virginians didn't turn out for Obama when almost all the media declared Obama the winner few days earlier. Why Obama cannot close the deal, with all the help he received from the news media and the news magazines, and also with all that money?

    West Virginians saw and read about Obama and made up their own mind. They must saw something contrary to what they saw and what they read. They've been around for a long long time.

    May 14, 2008 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  5. Tom,des moines

    Thank you WV for giving Hillary a landslide victory tonight!

    Go Hillary 08!

    May 14, 2008 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  6. Jay in Cali

    OBAMA is the right choice for America in a world of uncertainity. Folks, Please think about the future and vote for some one who is honest and forsee the problems of the future. Obama sees what others do not see or what others do not want to talk about. Good Example is that He did not vote for WAR. Hillary DID. What America needs today is that a President who can make peace at home and abroad. Lets show to the world our strenght by voting for OBAMA

    May 14, 2008 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  7. Edgar in NYC

    Obama will loose in the general election. He won't carry the rust belt, the south, the central or mountain states. And we might even see CA become a swing state. And he can forget about Michigan and Florida.

    Good job Obama supporters. I hope he is still giving you warm fuzzies and making you want to hug each other when your losing your right to choose and are facing an eternity of war.

    The Republicans will trample him. Thank you for ruining my country.

    May 14, 2008 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  8. liforcerenewal

    Don't You folks see? This is a test~Jesus was beige...not white/black/etc.We must unite, or we won't make it until November!
    The Supreme Being teaches us 2 things:
    1)Love God
    2)Love one another~Why? 'cause we wouldn't have done it otherwise
    God has sent us a test...left down Your prejudices, and fight!fight!fight!
    Meanwhile, Uncle Bushy dumps chem trails on us ALL Day LONG(and not just the dems)!
    ~Special council for the Trees

    May 14, 2008 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  9. Evan Tribley Columbus, OH

    I truly do not want to overgeneralize but...

    May 14, 2008 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  10. stanford raymond

    Congratulations to Senator Clinton on her win in West Virginia , but it is not fair to be asking for the votes in Michigan and Florida to be counted since these two states did not follow the rules of the DNC. If you are planning to be the President of the USA, then senator you should set the example of fairness, do not ask the DNC to change the rules to suit you. This is dishonest.
    I like how Senator Obama tries to be polite and dignify. He surely looks like a States Man. One Democrat should not be putting down another Democrat, and why is it that everything in the USA has to be about Race? This is really bad,and shows that many Americans are still living in the dark ages. I pray that you all will see people as human beings and not their colour. To be frank no one is really black or white. Take a sheet of white paper and a sheet of black and tell me if anyone's cololur is like that.
    I just get caught up in the interesting Primaries that have been taking place, and it is one of the most exciting political exercise I have ever experience. Thanks to Hillary and Obama. Please let this exercise end well,because it will go dolwn in History. I am a Canadian but I spend my time every day following these primaries. I am almost certain that I know the political system there more than many of the people who live in the USA. May the best person become the President.
    It is full time we drop the negatives about the candidates. Who are we to judge others? We all have faults, so if my preacher says something thst I do not agree with I do not have to leave his church. If I do that I would be changing churches each week. It is full time for people to drop all the nagatives and be positive. Life would be much better.

    May 14, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  11. Jamie, AL

    Question:
    Why stop at Florida and Michigan? I'm sure there are probably some votes in Canada and Mexico Hillary can claim.

    I can't wait until June 3rd when this election will be over. This woman is a piece of work.

    Obama 08

    May 14, 2008 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  12. Obama Nebraka primary

    It's interesting that Obama won the Nebraska primary ( Nebraska had a caucus early this year) today
    45,952 Obama
    43,357 Hillary

    Obama is still winning white votes? Nebraska is 92 % white.

    May 14, 2008 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  13. ted

    Lady Macbeth for president?
    Hope not!

    May 14, 2008 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  14. Lisa

    I'm Canadian-so maybe I don't have the right to comment on ya'all in the States, but from where I objectively sit (up here in my igloo), I'd say you're at a defining moment in your history. It's way overdue to purge yourselves of the typical White House Politician. Take the high road, wake up, see the light-Vote Obama....He's your only hope...

    May 14, 2008 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  15. Rob

    A friendly reminder to all Democrats out there who say you will vote for McCain if you candidate is not the nominee...

    It is estimated that as many as 2 to 4 seats on the Supreme Court could become vacant during the next Presidential term. Justice Ginsburg is 75 year old and Justice Stevens is 88 and they will both likely retire within the next 4 years. This means it is likely that whoever is President will make appointments that will shape our entire society for decades to come.

    John McCain has said that he would appoint conservative judges if elected President. McCain sited Justices Roberts, Alito and Renquest as his models for the type of judge he would appoint to the court if given an opportunity. McCain voted for all of Bushes appointees to the Supreme Court. If we take McCain at his word, and in this case I do, he would have and will act exactly as Bush has in regards to Supreme Court appointments.

    Both Obama and Clinton voted against Roberts and voted to filibuster Alito.

    Before you decide that you will vote McSame or not vote at all if your candidate does not become the nominee, I urge you to think about a few things...

    Roe vs. Wade
    Environmental Protection
    Personal Privacy in America
    Equal Rights
    Consumer Protection

    I could go on...

    Now imagine all those things going away, because that is what will happen if McCain is the one doing the nominating.

    McCain's voting record in the 109th Congress was the second most conservative in the Senate. He has also promised to greatly increase the size of the US military, and increase the use of nuclear power in the US.

    I made a mistake in 2000 and voted for Nader. Yes I proclaimed it as a message to the DNC and guess what it got me...

    George W. Bush

    Don't make the same mistake I made in 2000. Think people.

    May 14, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  16. kantor

    How is it that the 3rd oldest, whitest, poorest state in the union represents the voting tendencies of the rest of the country? I live in washington, a state which voted overwhelmingly for obama, and our pop is also a majority of whites, so why didn't we vote along the same lines as WV? Is it because we're more educated, or have a little more change in or pockets, or is it because we've progressed since the civil war? Not every one is as closed mined as WV. Not everyone looks at the color of someone's skin to determine their worth as a human being, and not everyone intentionally over looks someone's intelligence because the other choice is intelligent too. Just because obama doesn't speak or look like hillary doesn't mean that what he's saying isn't as inept, or well thoughout, and sensible as what she says. It's almost like you people think obamas just up there telling jokes with an occasional mention of the economy for misdirection. If you could stop paying attention to the shade of his skin long enough you'd hear that what he says speaks to your interest. He knows what your going through just as much as hillary, he's just not gonna drink a beer with you, bowl with you, or shoot a duck to get you to believe him. hillary is worth over 100 million, while obama is worth 2 or 3, so who's the elitest? Please don't insult the educated folks intelligence with your intentional ignorance to excuse your racism. Just vote for your "kind" this fall and ignore your interest, because if you think about it, you don't deserve for your interest to be met anyways.

    May 14, 2008 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  17. Jones Che

    I feel very sad when the American people still mention the issue of Obama being inexperienced. The thing that is of importance is Value Jugdement and that he has portrayed. Being a president doesn't mean that you make all decisions that affects the life of the citizens.
    What is the role of a political adviser?, An economic adviser, the Ministers, Governors?
    Why is Clinton hanging on when she is in the deficit. I think she should drop and pledge her support for Obama so as to unit the party well before November. An Obama-Clinton ticket should be negotiated.

    May 14, 2008 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  18. freedomanjel

    Well, I hate to play the race card in West Virginia, but being a white, pink collar worker married to a blue collar African American worker, I probably can't live in West Virginia either! Hate to say that it's a reality in this country, but unfortunately, it is. The South would be no place for us, as I'm sure we'd still be run off the road by truckers, or locked up by over zealous police officers. You mean, West Virginian's can read?? Obama is the only candidate who has worked his way up, and although some may say he comes from a somewhat priveledged backround, his current level of financial success is no where near the cushioned lifestyles of the Clintons or John McCain. He is the closest to really understanding what it's like to have to 'make a living'. Hillary is not the one for this country. She is more of the same, more of the status quo, and will not bring about the change we so need in this country. This is about her ego and the need to feed it. It's time for the lady in the pantsuit to say, 'It's over!' and concede the candidacy to the only one who can carry it, Barack Obama!!

    May 14, 2008 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  19. Raphael

    America is waking up. Obama is a great motivational speaker with no record to back it up. He has absolutely no experience and has never run anything in his life besides his mouth. He has never run a business,corporation, city, state, nothing?
    Obama has no shot in winning the Presidency.

    Go Hillary, if not Hillary Go McCain.

    May 14, 2008 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  20. Terri

    OBAMA CAN NOT BEAT MCCAIN

    WE HILLARY SUPPORTER WILL MAKE SURE OF THAT.

    DNC YOU SOLD HER OUT!

    WE WANT HILLARY, NOT TED, NOT OBAMA, NOT JOHN KERRY, NOT JESSE, NOT AL SHARPTON, NOT BILL AYERS, NOT REV WRIGHT.

    DNC IT IS SAD YOU STAND WITH THESE OVER MY VOTE, MCCAIN RESPECT IT!

    May 14, 2008 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  21. Kentucky Man

    First off, im an African American and im from Kentucky. The majority of the people posting on this blog sound black. You guys are sounding really bitter right now. Let the race run its course and just shut up!! If Obama is meant to be the nominee then he will. Stop crying racist Obama supporters!! How about this, we are racist because we vote for Obama by 91%. We need to check ourselves before we start blaming everybody else.

    May 14, 2008 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  22. joel

    Because they are a bunch of raging racists. End of story.

    May 14, 2008 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  23. Christine V from Dallas, TX

    Remember…D day is closing in! And I know from these post many Obama supporters are shaking in their shoes that a large Hillary constituent will not support Obama!!!!!!….well your nightmare will be reality when McCain wins November….and you know without us (large majority) your guy CAN'T WIN! Even media commentators are worried………well this is what you get you nasty obama elitist….and no not all of us are old, uneducated or set on our ways….start worrying obamabots, your bitter and hateful comments on our candidate got you this…..GET IT THROUGH YOUR HEAD! WE WILL NOT SUPPORT YOUR GUY! WE WILL N0T BACK HIM UP…..**YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN**

    ITS HILLARY OR MCCAIN …NEVER THE ELITIST OBAMA WHO LOOKS DOWN ON REGULAR PEOPLE…….YOU DESERVE TO LOSE THIS NOVEMBER!!

    May 14, 2008 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  24. Matthew

    West Virginia is an incredibly white and backward state in comparison to every other state in the region. It's ridiculous to think that race WASN'T an issue here... Not to mention the fact that it was an open primary, which means those 'good ole boys' who have a bias against anyone who isn't white, Christian, and pro-war (all of which Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain have in common) get to have their say as well.

    If Barack looses in November, Hillary will go down in history as the 21st centuries Yoko Ono. The democrats have a great opportunity and she is going to blow it for them.

    Obama 08'

    May 14, 2008 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  25. Mandy, California

    "I'm also thinking of Dalton Hatfield, an 11-year-old boy from Kentucky, who sold his bike and sold his video games to raise money to support my campaign. "

    Did Hillary Clinton, a woman worth $100 million, take money from a child who sold his bike and video games so he could donate to her campaign? Did she think that story would be touching? A tribute to the people she attracts?

    I find it a very sad commentary that she would take money from a child to cover a dbt that she could take care of with Bill speeches and one book deal!

    May 14, 2008 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
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