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 wa
nt 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.”