Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., greets commuters in Washington, DC; photo courtesy AP
In a stunning setback to the Clinton camp, Democratic presidential candidate and now front-runner Barack Obama scored victories in the primaries held in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Given Obama's fundraising advantages going into these contests, it is difficult to see how Hillary Clinton can come back in the coming weeks, as her opponent has both electoral and financial momentum on his side.
Most surprising of the victories is undoubtedly Virginia, where it appears that Obama will rack up over 60 percent of the total vote. As late as this weekend, Clinton campaign officials were cautiously optimistic that they could squeak out a victory over Obama.
The polls in Maryland will remain open until 9:30 pm EST, but exit polls show Obama with a 3:1 lead over Clinton in the Old Line State, and I fail to see how he can lose. Thus, the election center that is my laptop is making the calls ahead of the media, solely with the goal of generating traffic for my blog.
Clinton held a slim 28-delegate lead over Obama in delegates going into today's races (1136-1108), but these figures include superdelegates, who are allowed to switch their votes. Many pundits argue that it is Obama who really leads in delegates, and respected sites such as RealClearPolitics.com showed the Illinois senator with a 5-15 delegate lead before tonight's results.
There are 168 delegates up for grabs tonight, and I suspect that Obama will snag 100-110 of those. He might very well have a 50-60 delegate lead over Clinton by the end of the evening, and it is quite possible that his lead could surpass 150 delegates before the last-gasp primaries in the states of Ohio and Texas arrive on March 4 for Hillary Clinton.
Even those primaries, which appeared to be locks for Clinton as late as mid-January, look like hotly-contested races now. By the way - I claim creation of the phrase "Chesapeake Sweep", which I used in a post last week, and which has been popping up on the Internet ever since.