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PRIMARY 2008: THE AFTERMATH W.VA. SUPERDELEGATES HOLD FIRM CLINTON VICTORY BRINGS NO NEW ENDORSEMENTS


Publication: THE CHARLESTON GAZETTE
Published: Thursday, May 15, 2008
Page: 1A
Byline: TOM SEARLS

Inside
n Barth to campaign ‘face-to-face’ for Congress, 2A
n Delegate sees parallels between her, primary opponent, 9A
n County-by-county presidential results, 8A
n County-by-county Supreme Court results, 8A
n Canvass may decide Kanawha school board race, 1C

ON THE WEB
To see the county-by-county results, go online to:
wvgazette.com/county-by-county.pdf


tomsearls@wvgazette.com


Sen. Hillary Clinton's landslide victory Tuesday in West Virginia gave her 20 committed delegates to the Democratic National Convention, but did not prompt any more of the state's superdelegates to declare they'll vote for her.


The New York senator carried all 55 counties in the state, racking up 239,118 votes to 91,715 for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. She received 67 percent of the vote to Obama's 26 percent.


Six delegates from each of the state's three congressional districts were up for grabs in Tuesday's Democratic primary election, along with 10 at-large delegates, said Tom Vogel, executive director of the state Democratic Party. All are allocated by the percentage of votes each candidate received.


Vogel said Clinton won her largest majority in the 3rd Congressional District, which stretches across Southern West Virginia, receiving five delegates from there to Obama's one. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., who represents that district, has endorsed Obama.


In both the 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts, Clinton picked up four delegates to two for Obama, Vogel said.


The 10 at-large delegates will be elected at the June state convention, but must be committed to candidates based on the statewide vote, he said. Seven of those delegates will go to Clinton and three to Obama.


John Edwards, a former North Carolina senator whose name was still on the ballot even though he withdrew from the race in January, still got 7 percent of the statewide vote. Edwards endorsed Obama on Wednesday.


Under party rules, Vogel said, Edwards gets no delegates because he didn't get at least 15 percent of the vote.


The state executive committee will send the proposed delegates' names to the campaigns by May 20, and the campaigns have until May 30 to object to them, Vogel said.


Any Democrat can apply to be a delegate to the convention for a particular candidate, he said: "It's not an open-shut thing."


West Virginia has 10 superdelegates who can support anyone, regardless of the state's election results. Before the primary, Clinton had the support of three West Virginia superdelegates to Obama's two.


Gov. Joe Manchin and state Democratic Chairman Nick Casey will wait until all the primary elections are over in early June before pledging their support.


Manchin spokeswoman Lara Ramsburg said the governor enjoyed the attention West Virginia received from its primary election and wants the process to continue uninterrupted. She said Manchin, who is chairman of the national Democratic Governors Association, doesn't want to interfere with other states' elections.


"He really is a fan of the process," Ramsburg said. "He thinks it's helpful to the party to continue."


So far, 22 of the 28 Democratic governors - all of whom are superdelegates - have pledged their votes to a candidate.


Primary elections remain in Kentucky, South Dakota, Montana, Oregon and Puerto Rico. Democratic governors in Kentucky and Montana remain uncommitted; the Oregon governor supports Clinton and the Puerto Rico governor supports Obama.


Ramsburg said Manchin plans to have all the Democratic governors get together after the party has a nominee.


"They are all committed to coming together for the party," she said.


Casey said the timing is not right to endorse anyone.


"I'm still walking the line," he said, although he allowed, "The vote [Tuesday] was significant."


As party chairman, Casey said he needs to hold back his vote while he deals with national party leaders about such things as funds to get out the vote.


"I'm probably going to follow the governor," he said.


Going into Tuesday's primary, Clinton had commitments from superdelegates Marie Prezioso, state party national committeewoman; Pat Maroney, state party national committeeman; and Belinda Biafore, state party vice chairman.


Obama had commitments from Rahall and U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller.


So far, West Virginia's senior senator, Robert C. Byrd, has not pledged his support to either candidate. He is said to be friends with both Clinton, who spoke fondly of him in her Tuesday night victory speech, and Obama, who helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Byrd's 2006 campaign.


Rep. Alan Mollohan has also refrained from giving his support to either candidate. "He has not uttered a breath to me about it," Mollohan spokesman Gerry Griffith said.


The other West Virginia superdelegate is Harpers Ferry resident Alice Germond, who is the Democratic National Committee secretary. She is expected to remain uncommitted until the national convention.


To contact staff writer Tom Searls, use e-mail or call 348-5198.


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