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Kicking Up His Tar Heels Kicking Up His Tar Heels

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Kicking Up His Tar Heels

Barack Obama won the 5/6 Dem primary, defeating Hillary Clinton and Mike Gravel. On the GOP side, John McCain defeated Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, and Alan Keyes. Results, with 100% reporting (NC Board of Elections, 5/7).

NC Dem Primary                 NC GOP Primary
              Votes  %age                    Votes  %age
Obama       897,017  56.30%    McCain      383,401  73.99%
Clinton     660,747  41.47     Huckabee     63,061  12.17
No Pref.     23,123   1.45     Paul         37,392   7.22
Gravel       12,448   0.78     No Pref.     20,667   3.99
                               Keyes        13,631   2.63
TOTAL:    1,593,335            TOTAL:      518,152


Obama carried NC 5/6, "winning a good chunk of its 115 pledged delegates and soaring to a solid victory on cascades of support from blacks, young people and voters who say they have been hit hard by the troubled economy." Obama celebrated his victory in NC, "speaking to thousands of cheering volunteers" at NC State Univ. He "pledged to bring the troubled Democratic party together."

"But Clinton carried almost two thirds of the white Dem vote, "and many of those voters told exit pollsters they would not support Obama" in Nov. if he's the Dem nominee. Obama acknowledged in his speech "that he has not has strong success luring working-class whites form his opponent." Obama: "They're the best-established brand name in Democratic politics, maybe in politics overall. They've been on the scene for 20 years. They're not going down easy" (Barrett, Raleigh News & Observer, 5/7).

In capturing NC, Obama relied on first-time voters and African-Americans "for his core support." "Blacks, who mane up a third" of the Dem electorate in NC, backed Obama 13-1. Voters under 30 supported Obama nearly 3-to-1. Exit polls showed that working class white voters, who accounted for 3 out of 10 voters, went for Clinton (Schouten, USA Today, 5/7).


"Once again" Clinton beat Obama "among white voters in a Southern state. Once again, it didn't much matter." The numbers collected in NC exit polls 5/6 "are too stark to ignore." But "voters said they believed Obama identified with their struggles. 15% of voters "said 'caring about people like me' was the quality that mattered most"(Weiss, Orangeburg Times and Democrat, 5/7)

Passing On The Pastor

Obama supporter/Rep. David Price (D): "He won voters that make under $50,000, he won among those without college degrees. He put together the kind of Democratic coalition that Democratic politicians in the South have relied on for generations" (Raleigh News & Observer, 5/7).

Polls showed that voters "who wanted experience turned to Clinton." Exit polls showed NC voters "valued change more than experience, that they found Obama more honest, that they thought Obama shared their values and they they believed he would do better in handling the ailing economy. He also carried the state's urban areas."

In NC, 6 out of 10 voters who said Rev. Wright's "incendiary comments affected their votes sided with Clinton. A somewhat larger percentage of voters who said the pastor's remarks did not matter supported Obama" (Espo/Sidoti, AP, 5/7).


The Fall Could Be Interesting Too

In casting their ballots for Obama and LG Beverly Perdue (D) for GOV, NC Dems "wrote a new chapter in the state's history that had been clouded by the era of Jim Crow and a deep skepticism about women's role in politics." State Sen. Kay Hagan (D) won the Dem SEN nod.

"Until proven otherwise," NC "remains a red state" in nat'l politics. John McCain "will likely be favored" in Nov. While the attention was focused on Dems last week, "McCain quietly picked up" $1M in NC "at fundraisers in Charlotte and Greensboro" (Christensen, Raleigh News & Observer, 5/7).

The Bigger The Better

NC voters came out 5/6 "in numbers that hadn't been seen in 20 years." About 38% of voters in Forsyth Co. cast ballots. In Wilkes Co. the turnout was about 37%. In Watauga Co., turnout was about 30%. Nearly 500K people statewide voted early or cast an absentee ballot. "Women came out in droves to vote early outnumbering men, 10,602 to 6,387" (Gutierrez, Winston-Salem Journal, 5/7).

In Your Face, Lake Co.

The NC polls closed at 7:30. "The first cheer at Jillian's went up at 7:31. OBAMA WINS IN NORTH CAROLINA flashed on the big screen TVs and the Obama volunteers in the front room could not quite believe it. Not this soon, There were maybe 50 of them and they got to the South End sports bar early, bought dinner, found a booth for a long election night. Before they got their salads it was over" (Tomlinson, Charlotte Observer, 5/7).

This article appears in the May 7, 2008 edition of Latest Edition.

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