Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Photo Finish In This Kentucky Horse Race

Hillary Clinton is claiming victory here in Kentucky as the last few thousand votes come in from the mountain counties, but the margin of victory looks to be very, very close.

The O'Malley vote, the uncommitted vote, even the bonkers vote for Rocky De La Fuente (we do love our colorful long shot candidates here in the Bluegrass State) all could have given Sanders the win, and it didn't.  The closed primary and friendly political establishment here favored Clinton, the angry coal country vote and 90% white demographics of the state favored Sanders, and in the end it was a narrow win for Clinton.

The difference was Jefferson County, Clinton won Louisville 64k to Sanders' 45k, and that margin stood up all night. She also won Lexington's Fayette County 20k to 17k, and again that margin held. What few black voters in the state live in those two counties, and they came out big for Clinton.

Interestingly enough, Clinton also did well here in the NKY, taking Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties, picking up a total of about 750 votes across all three over Sanders.  That means my vote counted, the first Kentucky primary I can honestly say where it did.

Sanders did well in both the east and west, particularly in Pike County (that big pointy county furthest to the east in KY). He won there by 2,400, more than doubling Clinton's total there, but there were also a whopping 1,400 uncommitted voters there as the real draw was the race for State Senator in Pike and surrounding counties.

State Senate minority leader Ray Jones was able to keep his seat against primary challenger Glenn Hammond as they argued about how much each hated Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the heart of Pikeville coal country.  Jones got 6,400 votes to Hammond's 2,900, well more than the Clinton/Sanders race. It means a hell of a lot of people turned out to vote for the local race, and could have cared less about which Dem ran for President...probably because they were going to vote for Trump anyhow.

Anyway, this win is a definite problem for Clinton.  She should be able to put Sanders away at this point and she can't.  She won here 8 years ago by 36 points over Obama.  Last night she won by .3%. I still expect Trump to win here by 15 points, if not 20 in November, so it's not like we're a good example of how Democrats think here.

But she can end this in New Jersey and California next month. The question that remains now is how much damage Bernie Sanders will do before he concedes the race.

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