For all the inherent drama of the nationwide set of 20-plus election contests on Super Tuesday, things turned out more or less as anticipated: John McCain bolstered his frontrunner status on the Republican side, and dueling Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will keep fighting.
In the basement speakeasy at Local 121, the Providence restaurant owned by state Senator Josh Miller (D-Cranston), the enthusiastic crowd of Obama backers — joined by a few Clinton supporters, such as state Senator Juan Pichardo (D-Providence) — dissipated not long after the networks projected Clinton as the winner of big-prize California.
At the same time, Obama, by winning a greater number of states, remained more than intact, and it was his voice, not Clinton’s, that the partisan crowd wanted to hear as he made his comments, launching again into the impressive oratory that has helped power his campaign. “We are the change we seek,” the candidate boomed.
Indeed, after facing earlier questions about his ability to pull white votes, Obama won over a broad cross-section of the country, from expected Southern states like Georgia and Alabama, to Delaware and Connecticut in the Northeast, Missouri and Kansas in the Midwest, and North Dakota and Idaho (!) farther afield. Clinton rolled up important victories in such states as New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts.
For Romney supporters, including Governor Donald L. Carcieri, the night was clearly a disappointment. Set back early in the day by a Mike Huckabee victory in West Virginia, the former GOP governor of Massachusetts was still in the hunt, although badly bruised and suffering from a broader lack of appeal.
Back to the Democrats: for a while many had thought that Super Tuesday would offer some sense of resolution. Not so. With a growing sense that Obama would have benefited if the big day had taken place even a week later, the two sides now have time to spin, reload, and get back to it.
Some local political observers have held out hope that little Rhode Island, with its relatively few delegates, could wield an outsized influence when our presidential primary takes place on March 4. Stranger things have happened, but don’t count on it.
: This Just In
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