The last two states vote tonight in the Democratic primary. The Associated Press has already declared the nomination for Obama,but depending on where your numbers are coming from Obama needs in the ballpark of ten delegates from tonight’s two votes.
He’s expected to win both states and even though not a lot of delegates are at stake he should pass the official delegate count to officially win the Democratic nomination. I’ll periodically update the results as they come in and probably add links to blogosphere commentary on the occasion. Congratulations to Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee this year.
This early link is from Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish celebrating the end of the Clinton era ( … at least for now).
Numbers from updates will come from CNN or CNN.com unless otherwise noted.
Update 7:00 pm — And, of course, the GOP is voting in New Mexico. I’m sure turnout will be huge for that primary.
Update 8:40 — In something of a surprise (to me at least, maybe I read some earlier predictions incorrectly) with 26% reporting in South Dakota, CNN calls the state for Clinton. She leads 56 to 44. Obama is predicted to pick up five delegates if this differential holds out.
McCain is still pulling a bit under three quarters of the GOP vote at 72%. The protest votes are still out there.
No results from Montana.
Update 9:10 — No significant change in South Dakota. With no votes in, but the polls closed, CNN calls Montana for Obama and a projected eight delegates. Obama is the nominee.
Clinton finished her speech a bit ago. It lacked a crucial element — she congratulagted Obama on the “race he ran,” not on the race he “won.” She’s not completely conceding at this moment. I’m sure this sits well with the Democratic braintrust.
Some of the cable news talking heads mention rumors that she’s waiting after a “one-on-one” meeting with Obama that she’s demanding immediately occur. I think her leverage other than as a complete vindictive spoiler at this point is nil. The reality is Team Clinton has lost the race, and lost a lot more along the way — things such as the respect of the electorate, clout within the Democratic Party and the legacy of the 42nd president.
I expect the blogosphere to really cut loose on Hillary after this speech. She’s already been rumored to demand to be asked for the veep position so she can turn it down, but added the caveat it better not go to another woman. (Hat tip: Daily Kos for that link)
Really just a pathetic end to Hillary’s campaign.
Quite a triumph for Obama, the United State’s first black presidential candidate to serve as his party’s nominee. It should be a fun summer and fall leading up to the election in November.
Update 10:10 — South Dakota 76% in; Clinton 56, Obama 44. Montana 4% in; Obama 58, Clinton 39.
Ron Paul is pulling 13% in New Mexico and 16% in South Dakota. That is a true GOP protest vote.
If you want to consider the official opening salvos of the general campaign McCain and Obama’s speeches tonight, GOPers may have a few nightmares when they restlessly lay their heads down for the night. I think there will be a dramatic realization in the two presidential options once these two get on stage together. McCain will likely come off as old and shrunken (Obama has quite a few inches in height on him) where Obama will be youthful and commanding. Especially if viewed in high definition.
Also get ready for an onslaught of McCain commercials featuring Hillary stating McCain would be a better president than Obama. One little rhetorical gift she handed the GOP over this drawn-out primary. A primary she effectively lost during the month of February.
Update 10:30 — No change in South Dakota numbers-wise. Not much in Montana either. It is amazing the Democratic primary made it to the final votes before any candidate clinched. All McCain’s serious competitors dropped out long before he technically won the nomination by delegate count, but I’m certain the GOP race would be fully determined long before today.
More reactions from the net: here’s two from the Nation Review Online, one from Lisa Schiffren and one from Jonah Goldberg.
Update 10:50 — South Dakota with 91% in; Clinton 55, Obama 45. Montana with 12% in; Obama 55, Clinton 42, and “no preference” 3. This is the last numbers update for the night. Well fought and there is a winner after all these months of voting.
A reaction from Andrew Sullivan:
If I needed reassurance that this man is the most formidable force in American politics today, his speech tonight confirmed it. It was shrewd – with an artful positioning on Iraq. It was graceful – with respect for McCain’s service and Clinton’s tenacity. It was brutal – in turning around McCain’s Iraq visit meme to domestic economic woes. It was patriotic – in its evocation of Gettysburg and the Second World War. It was outer-directed: not for Obama the recourse to self-satisfied identity politics of the kind used by the Clintons because they often have nothing else. It was moving. I thought I even saw some suggestions of tears as he remembered his grandmother. It was also rhetorically more powerful than McCain – not by a small amount but by a mile. Put McCain’s speech against Obama’s – and this was a wipe-out. Not a victory. A wipe-out. Rhetorically, they are simply not in the same league. And if the contrast tonight between McCain and Obama holds for the rest of the campaign, McCain is facing a defeat of historic proportions.
One more thing: with McCain’s and Clinton’s speeches, you could not forget the politics of it. With Obama, you forgot about that at times. You actually lifted your eyes a little and believed a little and hoped a little.
Yes, he can. And anyone who under-estimates that will regret it.
(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty.)