To: Interested Parties
From: Clinton Campaign
Date: Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Re: Why West Virginia Matters
With a record turnout expected in today’s primary, West Virginia Democrats will make clear who they believe is the strongest candidate to take on Sen. McCain in the Fall.
The Mountain State is used to picking winners. Every nominee has carried the state’s primary since 1976, and no Democrat has won the White House without winning West Virginia since 1916.
Democrats carried West Virginia in 1992 and 1996, but lost the state—and the White House--in 2000 and 2004. Hillary has predicted victory against Sen. McCain in West Virginia based on the strength of her economic message.
Given the attempts by our opponent and some in the media to declare this race over, any significant increase in voter turnout, coupled with a decisive Clinton victory, would send a strong message that Democrats remain excited and energized by Hillary’s candidacy.
In the face of grim poll numbers, the Obama campaign has attempted to dismiss today’s outcome despite the fact that Sen. Obama has outspent us on advertising, has more staff in the state, and more than double the number of offices.
He has also benefited from the support of the most high-profile endorsers in West Virginia—Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Congressman Nick Rahall. By every measure, the Obama campaign has waged an aggressive campaign in the Mountain State.
Despite being the so-called “presumptive nominee” and benefiting from these advantages, Sen. Obama has been unable to close a significant gap in the polls.
Sen. Clinton has already won Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan. With a win in West Virginia, Sen. Clinton will have once again proven her greater ability to win in the key swing states.
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Marc Ambinder is a senior fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.