KENTUCKY - Democratic Primary - closed
Polls close: 7:00 PM ET
51 delegates at stake, proportional
OREGON - Democratic Primary - closed
Polls close: 11:00 PM ET
52 delegates at stake, proportional
Tuesday night's primaries look like another split decision – Barack Obama is favored in Oregon and Hillary Clinton is favored in Kentucky. But unlike primary night draws in the past, Tuesday could be actually have a game-changing moment in the battle for the Democratic nomination.
The night could be a milestone in the nomination race if Obama is able to achieve a majority (1627 or more) of the total pledged delegates (3253). At this writing, he has 1609 pledged delegates in the ABC News delegate estimate and needs just 18 to achieve the majority.
Of course, this does not constitute victory. Obama still needs to reach the DNC's magic number of 2026. But reaching this pledged delegate marker does give the Obama a solid talking point to pitch to the 200 or so uncommitted superdelegates that they now should follow the will of the voters.
Clinton will be in Louisville when results come in tomorrow night while Obama will "bring things full circle" and hold a rally in Iowa.
ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports that Obama will not declare victory in the nomination fight but did call reaching the majority of pledged delegates "a pretty significant mark."
"It doesn't mean we declare victory because I won't be the nominee until we have enough, a combination of both pledged delegates and superdelegates to hit the mark," Obama said on Sunday in Milwaukie, Oregon. "But what it does mean is that voters have given us the majority of delegates that they can assign. And obviously that is what this primary and caucus process is about."
Things to look for on Tuesday night:
1. Superdelegate movement. While he will be able to claim the majority of pledged delegates, it would take a flood of superdelegates endorsing Obama to put him over the magic number of 2026 to win the nomination tomorrow night. But there are superdelgates that could announce after the results are in in Oregon and Kentucky. Eight of the 14 superdelegates from Oregon remain uncommitted and it would not be surprising to see them come out quickly after the results are in (and support Obama should he win the state). A spokesman for the Kentucky Democratic Party chair and vice-chair, who are both uncommitted, has indicated that they would wait until after the state votes and take into account the results.
2. Obama's support among women and white voters in Oregon. Women make up about 56 percent of registered Democrats in Oregon and African-Americans make up just 1.7 percent of the state's population. A win there could provide an opportunity for Obama to answer many of the recent questions about his support among white voters and women voters.
3. Turnout in Kentucky's cities. Kentucky's demographics (working-class white rural voters and conservative Democrats) favor Clinton. But unlike West Virginia or other southern states with an overwhelming white working class majority, there are a couple of population centers that Obama's strong GOTV operation can target. Louisville and Lexington are the state's two largest cities and are more progressive than the rest of the state, with a large number of black voters. A high turnout there could make the race close, which could propel Obama to the pledged delegate majority even before polls close in Oregon.