As expected, Hillary Clinton won the Pennsylvania primary. It’s hardly a shock since she had the support of the state’s popular Gov. Ed Rendell and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
But Clinton supporters shouldn’t be rejoicing yet. As of 9:43 p.m., results from the suburbs of Philadelphia weren’t available. Obama should do well there, picking up plenty of supporters including my father whose vote was canceled out by my mother who backed Clinton.
Regardless, it certainly was a lively day in my home state.
“Throughout the day, turnout has appeared strong in most sections of Philadelphia and the suburbs,” according to the The Philadelphia Inquirer: “Election judges in many precincts said more voters had turned out to vote by noon than have normally shown up all day during a typical primary.”
Obama has been gaining ground in the Keystone State for weeks, chipping away at Clinton’s once-insurmountable 20-point lead. The Illinois senator surely didn’t help himself with the so-called “bitter” comment and the hoopla over his former pastor Jeremiah Wright. Media pundits also criticized his performance in the recent televised debate in Philadelphia though I thought he held his own against a barrage of gotcha questions from the moderators.
Obama said Tuesday that he still expected to lose, but only narrowly, and his staff painted Clinton as an opponent on the ropes.
“They were so confident that their own Pennsylvania spokesman said Clinton would be ‘unbeatable’ in Pennsylvania,” the campaign said in a memo to reporters. “The Clinton campaign needs a blowout victory in Pennsylvania to get any closer to winning the nomination.”
Howard Wolfson, Clinton’s chief spokesman, maintained that the size of Clinton’s victory was immaterial. Targeting his pitch to the Democratic officeholders and other superdelegates who hold the balance of power at the party convention in Denver in August, he said a win was a win.
Not quite. Clinton needed an overwhelming victory in my home state in order for her campaign to have enough gas to last until the convention. Even under the best of circumstances, winning in Pennsylvania gives her tank a few more gallons but is hardly a fill-up. Obama’s lead in pledged delegates is too large for New York senator to overcome.