5.13.2008

Results thread: Childers makes it 3 in a row for Dems, Clinton triumphs

2am: With all precincts reporting, Clinton held on to a strong margin: 67% to 26% for Obama. John Edwards got 7% of the votes. The delegate breakdown is almost as good as Clinton could have hoped for as she gains 20 delegates to Obama's 8. This includes a 4-2, 4-2 and 5-1 split in the state's 3 congressional districts. She won every single county of the state, holding Obama under 15% (as low as 8%) in some counties. Meanwhile in Nebraska, Obama won the beauty primary contest by 2% and 2,500 votes -- a good contrast for him in another very white state, though he had won the caucuses on February 9th -- the first in that series of 11 victories that sank Clinton -- with 68% of the vote.

11:45pm:
In West Virginia, Clinton's margin is superior to 40% with 83% of precincts reporting. She is leading 67% to 26% for Obama, as weak a showing as the polls were predicting. If numbers hold as they are, this could mean a delegate allocation as good for Clinton as 20-8.
In Mississippi, meanwhile, Childers' final margin is an 8 percent victory, a stunning feat in this conservative a district and a significant improvement over April 22nd. This will send shockwaves through the House GOP in the coming days, with some predicting a few additional retirements. And don't forget that there is a contested Senate race in Mississippi in November.

In Nebraska, finally, Scott Kleeb has won the Democratic nomination for the open Senate seat. The GOP's Mike Johanns is heavily favored to keep the seat but Kleeb will attract attention from national Democrats. Also, Nebraska Democrats were holding a (beauty) primary today, confirming once again how difficult the playing field is for Clinton in caucuses: On February 9th, Clinton lost the caucuses 68% to 32% (and trailed by 8 delegates). In today's primary which allocates no delegates, she is leading by 10,000 votes with 3/4th of the votes counted.

10:15pm: MS-01 is called for Democrat Travis Childers
!
This is the third special election in a row won by Democrats and leaving the GOP in a state of true disarray. They can't explain this one away by blaming a flawed Republican candidate. And while this might not seem like a huge surprise given that Childers almost won in April, just remember what was being said about this race as late as April 21st... It was a second-tier race at best in a district Bush won with 62%.
Tate County finished reporting with a slight improvement for Childers. Meanwhile, Pentiss County left no hope for Republicans, giving 86% of its vote to Childers. The Democrat's 2,000 vote margin will likely increase with the last fifth of precincts reporting.

10:10pm:
DeSoto County is done reporting: Davis increased his lead since April 22nd by an impressive 2,000 votes, with 75% of the vote. But he had gotten 81% 3 weeks ago and, with his strongest county done, he still trails Childers by 1,100 votes. Davis can still count on Tate County but that county is much smaller than Prentiss, which is Childers' base. Not that I am willing to call a race before the AP but...

9:50pm:
I am not sure where Davis can get the votes to close the gap. With 64% reporting, the margin is down to 2,000 votes and 2%. But that includes 73% of DeSoto County now -- and Childers has 1,000 more votes than the first round while Davis has yet to reach his previous total. Meanwhile, of the 7 counties that have yet to report anything, Childers won 5 three weeks ago.
Meanwhile in West Virginia, Obama is failing to get 30% with 38% reporting. He trails 64% to 29%. Edwards' name was on the ballot, and he is getting about 7% right now!

9:45pm:
This election is looking increasingly good for Democrats. LaFayette County fully reported transforming a 200 vote loss into a 300 vote victory for Childers, with turnout more than double. DeSoto is now 55% reporting and, while Davis is getting 73% of the vote, that is not enough to close the gap with Childers whose biggest county hasn't even started reporting.

9:35pm:
More than half of the precincts are reporting and Childers is 8% -- or 3,500 votes -- ahead. Keep in mind that DeSoto County has still a long way to go, but Childers' strongest county (Prentiss) has yet to report. It gave the Democrat 83% of the vote on April 22nd. It is Panola County's turn to bring good news to Childers. Three weeks, Davis led by one vote in this county. Today, more than 5,000 voters went to the polls instead of 2,100 (a huge turnout increase) and Childers is leading by 700 votes with only one precinct outstanding.

9:25pm
: With 41% reporting, Childers is leading by 6%. More great news for Childers as counties are finishing reporting: (1) Yalobusha County: With all precincts reporting, Childers transformed a 21 vote loss 3 weeks ago into a 400 vote lead (59% to 41%). This is not necessarily the most important county in the district, but it does suggest that Childers is not hurting from the increased turnout: Turnout is about 150% of what it was on April 22nd. (2) Chikensaw County: Here again, turnout doubled and Childers increased his share of the vote from 67% to 73%. African-Americans are voting in greater numbers and Childers leads Davis by 500 votes votes more in the county alone.

9:20pm
More than a third of precincts is now reporting and Childers is down to a 6% lead. But Childers is getting some great news from Lowndes County. With 18/22 precincts counted, this county is tied with Davis 6 votes ahead. Three weeks ago, Childers trailed by 400 votes and got 43%. Also, Webster County just became the first county with more than one precinct to have reported; the margin is the same (+200 votes for Davis) but turnout has almost doubled so this is obviously a good showing for Childers who improves his percentage and did not suffer from increased turnout.

9:05pm:
Numbers are now coming in faster from MS and the turnout totals are indeed very different. In Chickasaw County, with half of the precincts reporting, Davis is already at his total from three weeks ago Childers isn't even at half of his... Things look better for Childers in Marshall County, where it looks like African-American turnout is helping him. DeSoto has started reporting and is naturally helping Davis, though Childers is (for now) at 26%, versus 17% 3 weeks ago. With 20% reporting, Childers is on top with 55% and 1,700 votes.

9:00pm:
Results are now trickling in from both races. In West Virginia, Clinton is leading by 24% with 5% of precincts reporting.
In Mississippi, it does not look very good for Travis Childers if we look at a key county. With 16% reporting, he is ahead 59% to 41%. But Lee County -- which Childers won with 58% and 1,700 votes is more than 75% reporting and Davis has already surpassed his April 22nd total while Childers is 900 votes under. It looks like there is increased turnout that is helping the Republican.

8:25pm: No votes have yet been reported in either contests (I am following the MS results at the Clarion-Ledger) but Clinton wasted no time sending out an email celebrating her victory in West Virginia and vowing to press forward, sounding a defiant tone and refusing to concede that the race is over:

After tonight's tremendous victory here in West Virginia, it's clear that the pundits declaring this race over have it all wrong. The voters in West Virginia spoke loud and clear -- they want this contest to go on. I'm listening to the voters -- and to you.

With your help, I'm going to carry the energy of tonight's victory into the next contests in Kentucky and Oregon... We've proved conventional wisdom wrong time and again in this race. We did it again tonight in West Virginia. Let's keep going.

8:00pm: Still no votes are being reported in WV but the polls have closed in Mississippi. In worrisome news for Democrats, DeSoto County, the district's biggest county that is also Davis's base (he got 81% here on April 22nd) ran out of ballots and had to reprint some -- suggesting that turnout was very superior to the first round's. Less than 13,000 voters came to the polls in that county on that day, but 17,000 ballots were printed today. Overall, turnout is up throughout the county. In a district that is as Republican as MS-01, the higher the turnout the more difficult it becomes for Democrats. They can have hope that most of that turnout comes from black voters, but DeSoto running out of ballots increased turnout still confirms why it is much easier to pick-up a seat like this in the first round than in the runoff (see CA-50 a few years ago).

7:30pm:
Clinton triumphs in West Virginia. Surprise, surprise, the race was called as soon as the polls closed.
Exit polls suggest a roughly 2:1 margin in Clinton's favor, who would then get about 66% of the vote. That's about what polls were suggesting -- though perhaps on the lower end of what Clinton was allowed to hope for. Note, however, that only 51% of voters were women which is a much smaller proportion than we are used to seeing in Democratic primaries. Clinton got 73% among voters with no college education. 69% in households with less than $50,000. In further proof that this has little to do with operation mischief, registered Democrats voted for Clinton more than did independents. 21% of voters said that race was an important factor for them, and 84% voted for Clinton; she got more than 60% of those who said it wasn't a factor.

Original post: Welcome to the third results thread of the month of May. Appropriately, the first concerned the special election in LA-06 and the second the Democratic primaries in IN and NC. Today, two elections await us: the primary in West Virginia, which Hillary Clinton is expected to win handily, and the much more suspenseful special election in Mississippi's 1st district.

In West Virginia, the question will be Clinton's margin and how low she can manage to keep Obama among blue-collar voters. Too huge a loss would certainly be embarrassing for the Illinois Senator considering his campaign is already claiming the nomination; and given that some networks have planned some coverage of the primary tonight, they would have little else to talk about than Obama's continued weakness among the working-class as well as some problematic exit polls from West Virginia: 51% of Democrats say that Obama agrees with Reverend Wright, versus 47%. Also, 75% of Clinton voters say they would be dissatisfied if Obama became the nominee, versus 61% of Obama supporters. Also, as many Clinton voters say they will support Obama in the fall as say McCain (36% versus 35%). These are not Republican voters creating mischief as West Virginia is a half-open primary in which only independents and Dems can vote in the Democratic primary.

In Mississippi, Democrat Childers came within 400 votes of picking up the seat in the first round on April 22nd. Since then, the GOP has done everything it can to nationalize the election and attach Childers' party affiliation around his neck (this is a district that gave 62% of its vote to Bush). Ensued massive spending on the part of the NRCC and DCCC (more than $3 million combined). Today, a last minute controversy erupted as the Democratic committee sent out this mailer accusing Greg Davis of ties with the KKK:

While the GOP is furious about what they see as race-baiting, note that the flier (rightly) accuses Republicans of having played the race-card first: “You’ve seen the TV ads attacking Barack Obama – trying to use race and religion to divide us.”

Labels: ,

31 Comments:

  • Well it looks like West Virginia will surpass Arkansas as Clinton best state so far this primary season. Politico still hasn't put up any results yet at the time of my typing, so the exit polls must be massively for Clinton. I believe a 66% margin is bigger than what she got in Arkansas. I think Obama will do slightly better in Kentucky because there are a little more AAs (8% in Kentucky compared to about 3% in West Virginia) and its a little poorer, but Clintion will probably get 58%+ in that state.

    The REAL intersting race will be MS-01 when polls close in a few minutes. If Davis pulls out a win then there is going to be alot of ads depicting Rev. Wright in districts Blue Dog Dems hold or are running for. If Childers win, then it would be the ultimate blow and prove that the GOP as a whole really is screwed this election cycle, and not just becasue they have "flawed candidates".

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 13 May, 2008 19:51  

  • jaxx raxor,

    I think Childers will edge Davis by about 1,000 votes. It will be a nail biter.

    Do you have a prediction?

    By Anonymous Jim W, At 13 May, 2008 19:57  

  • I can't really make a prediction as Childers and Davis seem to be about evenly match. I do think that if Childers win it will be by a extremely narrow margin like 1000 votes. However if Davis wins he has the potential to win by a bigger margin as this district is still solidly republican. Taniel most recent post in this thread is that Davis home base of DeSoto county has increased turnout, which could be a very good indication that if Davis pulls out a win, it can be by better margins then expected. I'm curious over Tainel saying the turnout could be from black voters, but I know nothing about the demographics of Missisipi so I can't tell. If Davis does win it's possible that White backlash against this Childers based on the DCCC's KKK ad could be to blame rather than the linking of Obama to Wright.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 13 May, 2008 20:16  

  • Taniel,

    Can you get us a link on where the results are coming from on MS-01?

    Thanks!

    By Anonymous Jim W, At 13 May, 2008 20:18  

  • Taniel,

    Thanks for your prompt response--hopefully we will get some numbers soon on MS-01. This would be an encouraging sign for Democrats if we are able to pull out MS-01.

    By Anonymous Jim W, At 13 May, 2008 20:30  

  • It seems a little suspcious that even a small portion of the results have yet to be released in MS-01 and especially WV. But I guess they are busy processing the votes.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 13 May, 2008 20:48  

  • Ahh I just went to politico and they have released 3% of the returns in WV. Very good chance that Clinton will reach the 60%-66% mark but it probably won't reach as high as 70% or even higher like some Clinton supporters were saying.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 13 May, 2008 20:51  

  • I've been viewing the WVA race on cnn.com. It shows Clinton up 58-36%.

    By Anonymous Jim W, At 13 May, 2008 20:52  

  • Childers may be wishing he had 400 more votes 3 weeks ago. This is going to be down to the wire.

    I still give Childers a slight edge--its hard to fully understand what precincts are reporting. There can be large variances within each county.

    By Anonymous Jim West, At 13 May, 2008 21:14  

  • Well with 22% of the vote in, Clinton has about 63% of the vote. I don't remember what her margin in Arkansas was, but I'm pretty sure she will surpass that in WV. One thing that is interesting is that politico is showing the results of a NE primary. We all know that Obama dominated in the cacuses, and of course this primary is symbolic like the Washington Primary but again Clinton is doing much better than in the cacuses (she is actually ahead now but only with 2% of the results but she is ahead by about 2 points.

    In MS-01 it seems that the race will definitly go to the wire. I guess that DCCC KKK ad helped with AA turnout but Davis also benefited from higher GOP turnout; this could still flip either way at this point. I predict that the winner (but especially if its Childers) will win with a marigin in a few hundred rather than a few thousand as I thought earlier.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 13 May, 2008 21:40  

  • I'm staying with my prediction that Childers will win by 1,000. I might even err to say he will by as much as 2,000.

    From what I can tell, looking at what precincts are left to report, guessing an increase from three weeks ago, Childers will win the election.

    By Anonymous Jim West, At 13 May, 2008 21:47  

  • all but 2 precincts in desoto county is reporting, and Childers is still leading by 700 votes.

    I'm pretty confident that Childers has won, and he may win by as many as 4,000 votes (I know, I keep increasing the number!).

    By Anonymous Jim W, At 13 May, 2008 21:59  

  • Jim west it seems that you may be right based on the returns that Childers is getting. It was easy for the GOP to write off Hasert's seat and Baker's seat because the GOP nominees were "flawed candidates". However, Davis is not a flawed candiate being the sucessful Mayor of Southhaven, so it is clear that it is the national GOP and not just particular candidates that are hurting badly. Just think if the GOP was able to win a seat that John Kerry won by 10 points more than his natinal average, it would be major.

    On WV I remember discussing in a earlier post with someone about how if Edwards was still in the race he would be doing well in West Virgnia, and it seems like he is despite him being out of the race for months. Obama is doing pretty bad but this was expected.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 13 May, 2008 22:08  

  • Taniel,

    You are right about DeSoto County--they did run out of ballots. 20,000 votes were counted in DeSoto, but Childers % almost doubled.

    This district should have never been in play. I agree with jaxx raxor on his assessments (Davis is not a flawed candidate), but I also will say that Childers was the perfect candidate for this district. I'd like to say that Childers won, and the GOP lost.

    By Anonymous Jim W, At 13 May, 2008 22:13  

  • I'll call it now---Childers wins.

    By Anonymous Jim W, At 13 May, 2008 22:18  

  • In WV Clinton seems to be stablizing at around 65%, so she will probably win by that amount. I did just check wikipedia to see how she did in Arkansas on Feb 5th and apparently she got 70% of the vote there, so I was wrong that WV would surpass Arkansas but this is only her second win above 60%. I guess the people voting for Edwards is saving Obama from an even more crushing defeat although it's not gonna reach the 15% threshold to get Edwards Delegates.

    As for Childers; win, this is evidence that the GOP is bascially collasping in support. It is now very clear that merely having a "good" candidate isn't enough, the candidate has to be clearly a top tier and superior candidate way beyond any measure. I do think that the GOP will be able to knock off at least one Democratic incumbent, one being Cazayoux because of the likelyhood of a black independent siponing away crucial AA votes and Shea-Porter in NH-1 losing in a rematch to Bradly based on recent polling data. Nethertheless, a double digit loss in districts is now very possible. It's possible that if the house GOP loses 10 or more seats in November, the Republicans will dump Boehner and choose a new leader. That would be very interesting if this is to come to pass.

    It does seem that there isn't going to be any more competive special elections in the near future, Unless Vosslia resigns, then his district would almost be an automatic Democratic win in his barely Dem leaning district. The only special election still up is my own district in MD-04, where Edwards will win easy in the most Democratic district in Maryland.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 13 May, 2008 22:52  

  • So I just checked the Nebraska Secretary of State website for primary results and apparently they are having a primary for president also. If they already had a caucus, are they doing like Washington state and doing this for show? Either way, it appears that it is very close between HRC and BO. Why do some states have both and count the one with less people participating?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 13 May, 2008 23:25  

  • Yeah Nebraska had a caucus I believe on February 9th. Why did Nebraska have a caucus that actually counted and a Nebraska primary that is meaningless? You would have to ask Nevada officals. It does look like that Obama narrowly won the NE primary, 49-46 but of course it doesn't count and none of the candiates campaigned there after feb 9.

    On Childers' win, Politico says that with all presincts in, Childers won 54-46, a 8 point victory. This is very solid win, especially in a state which favors Bush so much. That this margin is greater than the one in Cazayoux's win is most suprising of all. Apparently the GOP's efforts to use Wright and Obama against Childers not only failed but it greatly increased the black vote in the district and created a small backlash (althrough the DCCC KKK ads were a major part of getting the AA vote out).

    In WV Clinton's margin has increased and now its now its near 67%. It's very clear that Obama got destroyed in WV, which is good enough of a motivation for Clinton to go on in the race. It's possible that she could reach the 70% mark but with 83% of the vote already in its fairly unlikely.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 13 May, 2008 23:53  

  • WV proves that Obama cannot win the presidency.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 May, 2008 06:24  

  • The MS result shows Obama is not a drag on Democratic candidates in deeply conservative areas.

    Clinton did not do as well as she did in Arkansas or as her campaign expected - remember the 80-20 boasts recently. She did well, but WV is small and no needed in the GE. Move on.

    By Anonymous Mike, At 14 May, 2008 06:44  

  • Way to go for Childers. The Dems have done very well to win the special election in MS. The GOP sent Cheney and Governor Barbour. They spent heavily and Davis is not a flawed candidate. There are no excuses for this defeat.

    Also shows using Obama as a bogey man was a flawed idea. This is the second time (first used in LA special election) the GOP have tried to use Obama and Pelosi and negatives for the Dem candidate and it hasn`t worked. If it doesn`t work in LA or MS then it certainly won`t work in Oregon, New Jersey etc.

    By Anonymous Tom, At 14 May, 2008 08:07  

  • If Obama can't carry any Blue collar states, he's not electable. WV is hardly "no needed", it has been an important swing state that Democrats have needed to win since 1916.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 May, 2008 09:07  

  • Hmm, the rationale that seems to be prevalent among Obamans is that they don't need any of the states that they lose to win the GE. I guess that confirms that either they've been able to fix the voting machines or they're actually working to elect McSame. You don't need WV,OH,FL,MI,PA,NH,NY,CA,NJ,MA,etc.??? That's some optimism there. Cultism most would say.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 May, 2008 09:18  

  • Umm Anon lets see Gore and Kerry could have won the presidency very easily without WV. Some would say Gore did win in 2000. All Kerry needed was 100,000 extra votes in OH.
    Also just because someone loses a primary does not mean they cannot win the state in November. What ahppens in FL since both McCain and Clinton won the primaries. Only one can get the stat ein November. I assume you therefore think Obama will win Missouri in November because he won the primary??

    By your own logic CLinton would not win key democratic states like WI, WA, OR (expected), CT, MO, IL, VT, ME etc?? So lets stop this nonsence of basing the states you expect someone to win in FIVE months on what they did in primaries, some of which were 3 months ago.

    So yes small WV is not neccessary to get to 270 - of course nice to have but if WV is necessary and so improtant why deride small states Obama won??

    By Anonymous Mike, At 14 May, 2008 09:29  

  • Blue collar voters are the core constituency of the Democratic party. Obama can win the "egghead and aa vote" by a landslide and he will not win the ge. WV is a bellwether state that proves definitively that Obama cannot carry the party. It's not the winning or losing part, it's the lack of support from the core group. Obama cannot win. It's the math. You guys seem to have no problem with counting delegates, yet you fail to see the math problem in the big picture. Try counting who's not voting for Obama.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 May, 2008 09:38  

  • WV is a bellwether state that proves definitively that Obama cannot carry the party.

    You could say that no Democrat has won the presidency since DC got the vote without DC, and Clinton lost badly in DC. Yeah, that argument wouldn't make any sense either.

    You don't need WV,OH,FL,MI,PA,NH,NY,CA,NJ,MA,etc.??? That's some optimism there.

    Head-to-head polls against McCain show Obama up in many of those states and within striking distance in others (and doing better than Clinton in MI).

    So let's try it again: primary results cannot be applied to the general election. Period. If you want to argue about the candidates' abilities to carry certain states in the general election, look at polls against McCain in those states, not the Democrats against each other.

    Plus if Obama were so weak with certain groups, it would show up in national polls against McCain. But a recent LA Times/Bloomberg poll shows that Obama does almost as well with blue-collar white voters against McCain as Clinton does. And the possibility that he does a little worse with that group but still does as well as Clinton against McCain shows that Obama must have strengths with other voters that Clinton lacks.

    That's the math.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 14 May, 2008 10:42  

  • Anonymous--

    Obama has no problem with blue-collar whites in the pacific Northwest, the Southwest, and the Midwest. His problems have been entirely confined to the Appalachian region. Yet he's still polling better than McCain in PA.

    The fact is, just because Obama's losing these voters to Clinton doesn't mean he'll lose them to McCain. By your logic, black voters will turn en masse to McCain in November if Clinton becomes the nominee.

    In the GE, Obama will win California, he'll win New Jersey, he'll win Massachusetts, he'll win New York. He'll have to defend Michigan and Pennsylvania, but we always do, and he's actually polling better than Clinton in Michigan. This fantasy that because he's lost these states in the primaries means he won't win them in the GE is flatly ludicrous. Paul Tsongas carried most of New England in 1992, yet somehow Clinton managed to eke out a win against Bush that year. Shocker, right?

    By Blogger Stephen, At 14 May, 2008 10:51  

  • Stephen and dsimon - well said.

    It was interesting that Edwards got 7% even though he dropped out 4 months ago. Gives an indication of the sexism and racism in that state that 7% of Democrats or Independants could not vote for either a white woman or a black man. Instead they voted for a white man who is not running and has no chance at the nomination. Wierd!

    By Anonymous Mike, At 14 May, 2008 12:35  

  • Mike--

    One theory I heard about Edwards's surprisingly strong showing in NC was that some people who would otherwise have supported Hillary have now dismissed her as hopelessly far behind, so they decided to waste their anti-Obama vote on someone they actually liked. I don't know that there's any proof of it, but it makes sense in a way.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 14 May, 2008 12:46  

  • Stephen - that theory makes sense but so does the theory that some voters were sexist and racist so went for the white guy.

    25% of Clinton supporters basically admitted in the exit polls thta they were racist since race played a large part in thier decision. A fact of life but sad.

    Clinton's base is weaker than normally discusse dbecause she has had support from people who are both racist and sexist but more racist, she has had Ann COulter supporting her, she has had Rush Limbaugh's operation chaos which has helped her (IN was very close). The votes Obama gets are from people who will definately vote for him in November. The same cannot be said for Clinton (albeit at the margins).

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