Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Kentucky & Oregan Primary Night Updates


It's not all bad news for Obama in Kentucky. Suburban Louisville's Oldham County, Kentucky's wealthiest and fastest growing in a state where many of its 120 counties are atrophying, gave Obama a respectable 41%.

Kentucky Coal Country went for Hillary Clinton in numbers as lopsided as those in neighboring West Virginia. The Coal Miner's Daughter herself, proud Republican Loretta Lynn's fabled birthplace, Butcher "Holler" went for HRC by a similarly landslide margin, 87% to 9%.

Johnson County is a historically Mountain Republican county whose partisan sentiments have roots in its Unionism during the Civil War. However, results there didn't differ by much from nearby Knott County, still a Democratic stronghold, where Obama only managed 6.5% to HRC's 83%. (A search for Knott's political ancestry came up fruitless, except for the nugget that the county is named for a Democratic governor who was nonetheless a "staunch Unionist." The county's fealty to the Democracy seems to predate the New Deal, whose programs challenged ancestral Mountain Republicanism in deprived Appalachia. No evidence can be found of Democratic landslides here due to United Mine Workers influence, either.)


Retiring U.S. Rep. Darlene Hooley's (D-05) endorsement of Hillary Rodham Clinton seems to have made her competitive in the CD's counties. HRC didn't drop below 45% in any county in OR05 - outperforming her statewide total - and actually narrowly taking Tillamook. Detailed returns may indicate HRC strength in its rural dairy redoubts, and Obama winning the precincts that are displacing that agricultural heritage.

Sitting Gov. Ted Kulongoski saved some face today, despite endorsing Hillary Clinton. His endorsed candidate for the Democratic nomination to challenge vulnerable Sen. Gordon Smith (R), State House Speaker Jeff Merkley staved off an unexpectedly strong challenge by liberal activist Steve Novick, popular among Oregon's Obama acolytes, by a slim margin: 45%-41%.

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