West Virginia Democratic Primary
Polls Open: 6:30 am ET
Polls Close: 7:30 pm ET
Delegates at Stake: 28
Barack Obama is in a commanding position to win the Democratic presidential nod. But he is the underdog in Tuesday's West Virginia primary. The state's gun-owning, church-going, and economically struggling small towns are ripe targets for Hillary Clinton, who has tended to outperform Obama with these groups.
The former first couple has also put in more time on the ground than Obama.
Sen. Clinton has held 14 events and former President Clinton has held 15. By contrast, Sen. Obama has only held three events in the Mountain State.
In the hopes that the media will ignore a big defeat, Obama has worked to downplay expectations.
"She is going to do very well in West Virginia and Kentucky," Obama said Friday in Beaverton, Ore. "She'll win those states, in all likelihood, by significant margins."
The Obama campaign has effectively persuaded the media to focus on May 20 as the date on which the Illinois Democrat is expected to become the pledged delegate majority winner. But the Obama's campaign has not effectively answered why the Illinois Democrat is headed to such a big loss on Tuesday.
Per ABC's Jake Tapper, "If these Democrats vote for Clinton, the presumptive loser, overwhelmingly -- as is predicted -- that indicates a real problem for Obama… [T]omorrow's butt-stomping seems to me like it should merit some serious hand-wringing among Democrats."
For her part, Sen. Clinton has been working to paint her likely victory as a turning point in the race for the Democratic nomination. "It was West Virginia that made it possible for John Kennedy to become president," the former first lady said Monday in Clear Fork, W.Va. "Now John Kennedy didn't have the number of delegates he needed when he went to the convention in 1960; he had something equally as important. He had West Virginia behind him."
Tuesday's primary is open to Democrats and independents who select a Democratic ballot. The deadline to register was April 22.
GOP Plants a Flag in the Mountain State
Although registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans nearly two-to-one in West Virginia, the state hasn't gone to the Democrats in the past two presidential elections. On Monday, the RNC put West Virginia Republicans on the phone with reporters to hammer Obama.
"I'm quite concerned about a lot of his positions on the 2nd Amendment," said Ron Stone, Mayor of Winfield, W Va.
Jim Addy, the mayor of Harpers Ferry, painted Obama as weak and waffling, attacking him for "voting present when he has to make a critical decision."
Donnie Tenney, the Upshur County Commissioner, accused Obama of being disingenuous on coal.
Tenney said that although Obama talks about supporting clean coal, "he panders to the environmentalists that he has a totally different point of view."
(Whenever Obama travels to a coal state, the RNC loves to circulate a clip of Obama telling the San Antonio Express-News, "What we ought to tax is dirty energy, like coal and, to a lesser extent, natural gas.")
Obama Looks to November:
Although Obama is headed towards a shellacking in West Virginia, his campaign is already looking towards November.