Senator Hillary Clinton has won the Pennsylvania primary election, keeping her campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination alive. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports that, despite the victory, she still trails Senator Barack Obama in the total number of delegates committed to endorse her candidacy at the party convention in August.
It was a healthy margin of victory for the Senator from New York. And, it helped breathe new life into her campaign. She beat Barack Obama in Pennsylvania by a ten point margin -- 55 percent to 45 -- enough to mute calls to quit the race and enable her to stay on to fight another day. After a tough and often nasty campaign, a jubilant Hillary Clinton stood among supporters, covered with confetti and relishing the win.
Hilary Clinton: "It is a long road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and it runs right through the heart of Pennsylvania!"
It was a moment of joy for a candidate short on both delegates and campaign funds. In her victory speech, she spoke of the challenge ahead and took the unusual step of issuing an election night appeal for contributions.
Hilary Clinton: "We can only keep winning if we can keep competing with an opponent who outspends us so massively. So I hope you will go to HillaryClinton.com and show your support tonight because the future of this campaign is in your hands."
The Clinton campaign claims that, within an hour after that speech, her campaign raised more than a million dollars. Senator Clinton appeared in Philadelphia, which ironically was a campaign stronghold for the Obama campaign. He fared well with young and highly educated voters. She relied for support on working class communities, women and the elderly. Senator Obama congratulated her on her victory, while emphasizing he remains the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. He noted that at the start of the Pennsylvania primary campaign, Hillary Clinton had a roughly 20 point lead in voter preference polls.
Barack Obama: "There were a lot of folks who didn't think we could make this a race when it started. They thought we were going to be blown out. But we worked hard, we traveled across the state to big cities and small towns, to factories and VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Halls. And now, six weeks later, we have closed the gap."
By the time the polls closed in Pennsylvania, Senator Obama had moved on to Indiana which, along with North Carolina, holds the next round of primaries. He spoke in a packed arena before cheering young supporters who emphatically endorsed his call for change.
Barack Obama: "We are not here to talk about change for change's sake, but because our families and our communities and our country desperately need it. We are here because we can't afford to keep doing what we have been doing for the last four years."
Obama is already blanketing North Carolina and Indiana with campaign ads, spending twice as much as Clinton. Of the states still to hold primaries, North Carolina is the biggest prize and currently, Obama is in the lead.