By Samantha Hayes, in Charleston, West Virginia
May 13, 2008
There's no lack of enthusiasm inside Hillary Clinton's Charleston campaign office. They know they are headed for a big win this evening, and even though a West Virginia victory probably won't change the course of the race, they are reveling in the spotlight, if even for a short while. A young man welcomed me inside the office. Corey is a college student who joined Clinton's campaign in October. He has worked for Clinton in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and now West Virginia. "Its great experience, he told me with a smile, "and this is one of those elections tailor made for us, the demographics are really favorable to her here."
By favorable demographics, I knew Corey meant an older, white, working class population. And they favor Clinton for her experience. On Monday, a woman named Evelyn stopped by the local college where the CNN Election Express was parked. She motioned me over to her red Buick and asked if I would interview her. Evelyn told me she was 90 years old, and was a little unfamiliar with "blogs" such as this one, but nevertheless we talked about her favorite candidate. Evelyn has lived in West Virginia all of her life, and felt that education was a particularly important issue and that Clinton had the experience to improve public schools and help college students manage their education debts. While she talked, Evelyn unwrapped Hillary Clinton's autobiography, and showed me where the Senator had signed it. She was so enthusiastic about Clinton that I almost hesitated to point out that her chances of winning the nomination were slim to none. "She should stay in the race until the end," Evelyn insisted, "Until every vote is counted."
Later in the day a younger woman walked over to ask us where she could go to hear Clinton speak. We didn't catch her name, but she told us she was a teacher, and her little girl was in the car peaking her head out the window at us. "My six year old is a Hillary fan," she told us, "she said to me, Mommy, has there ever been a girl President before?"
At this point, many supporters are realizing that Clinton may not make history in that way. But they can say that West Virginia did its best to get her there.