Bring it on Home to Us! Live Blog: Kentucky & Oregon Democratic PrimariesPosted: May 17, 2016
So, we’re getting closer to the end of primary season and closer to having U.S. President Hillary Clinton!
Tonight, we’ll be watching the Kentucky and Oregon primaries . Both are closed primaries which means only registered Democrats may vote.
May 17 Primaries at stake for the Democratic Primary.
Kentucky: 55 delegates at stake
Trump was declared the winner of Kentucky in a March Caucus. Right now, Clinton has 50% and Sanders has 37.8% with less than 1% reporting.
Oregon: 61 delegates at stake
Last poll closes at 10:00 PM CT
Hillary Clinton continues to move ever closer to clinching the Democratic nomination with each successive primary contest, but Bernie Sanders could get more victories in his column on Tuesday when voters in Kentucky and Oregon head to the polls.
Oregon is the kind of progressive, activist state where Sanders and his kind of politics have long been popular. He is the favorite there. Clinton easily won Kentucky during the 2008 primaries, and it was expected at the start of this campaign that she would run ahead of the socialist Sanders in areas where Democrats are more conservative.
But Sanders’ victories earlier this month in Indiana and West Virginia, states that border Kentucky, suggest he could do very well in the Bluegrass State as well.
Here are some key things to watch for Tuesday:
Sanders’ Advantage: Oregon and Kentucky Have Small Populations of People of Color
Black voters have overwhelmingly backed Clinton during the primary season, and her performance in most states has been directly correlated to their African-American populations. So Kentucky and Oregon present big challenges for Clinton.
Nationally, African-Americans are 13 percent of the population. They are just 2 percent in Oregon, and 8 percent in Kentucky. (In this sense, Kentucky, while generally defined as in the South, is distinct from that region. The black population in neighboring Tennessee, where Clinton won, is 17 percent.)
Latinos (17 percent of the U.S. population) have generally favored Clinton as well, and they are only 3 percent of the population in Kentucky.
Eastern Kentucky Could Be Tough for Clinton
In the 2008 Democratic primary, Clinton won 118 of Kentucky’s 120 counties, getting 65 percent of the vote statewide, compared to Barack Obama’s 30 percent. In Kentucky’s Fifth Congressional District, the area where much of the state’s coal industry is based, Clinton won about 88 percent of the vote.
But that result may mean nothing now. Clinton also blew out Obama in neighboring West Virginia in 2008, only to lose resoundingly to Sanders in the primary there last week.
Many of the counties in Eastern Kentucky are part of coal country and have similar demographics to West Virginia: few college graduates, small black populations, high poverty rates, and declining economies. If the pattern from West Virginia holds, Sanders will be very strong in this region.
This area is also where Clinton’s controversial remarks about coal are likely to be most problematic.
Kentucky Secretary of State spokesman Bradford Queen says say voter turnout has been slow since polls opened on a cool, rainy election day.
The top race on Tuesday’s ballot for Democrats is the presidential primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Republicans held a presidential caucus in March, which was won by Donald Trump. Other major races on the primary ballot include seats for U.S. House, U.S. Senate and the state House.
Oregon would appear to be more friendly to Sanders but the most recent polls show Clinton somewhat ahead.
Oregon would appear to be the perfect place for Sanders’ broadsides against income inequality and the “rigged” economic system. Portland certainly is, but the whole state isn’t as progressive as its most populous city. A poll released least week by DHM Research showed Clinton with a 15-point advantage in Oregon. This has led Sanders to try to pump up turnout in the state.
“If voter turnout is low, if young people and working people don’t send in their ballots, we will probably lose,” Sanders told The Oregonian over the weekend. “Needless to say, what I hope we’ll be seeing is a very large voter turnout.”
There’s reason to believe the Vermont senator will get his wish. Oregon has seen a big jump in voter registrations, especially among the under-30 crowd. “[T]here’s clearly a lot of interest out there,” Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins said. “We have more registered voters than we’ve ever had before.”
Sanders heads into the Oregon and Kentucky vote with momentum and confidence. Clinton has been trying to pivot to the general election for some weeks, and now her rival is pivoting too. Sanders, who has won primaries in Indiana and West Virginia the past two weeks, repeatedly points out that he polls very well against Trump, who is an insult-spewing bogeyman to many liberals.
The Clinton campaign has been spending time in Kentucky so we’re real hopeful here. Grab the popcorn and a seat!!!