Winners and Losers: S.C. Democrats Edition
With the South Carolina Democratic primary now behind us and all eyes on the 22 states set to vote on Feb. 5, here is The Fix's take on the winners and losers from the race that was.
This is not a comprehensive list -- rather an attempt to dig beyond the obvious winners and losers and find some of the less heralded storylines.
Have winners and losers of your own? Offer them in the comments section below.
Steve Hildebrand/Stacey Brayboy/Jeremy Bird: This trifecta led the organizing effort for Barack Obama in South Carolina -- an arguably more successful operation than even in Iowa. Hildebrand, having overseen the Iowa operation, moved his attention to South Carolina and it paid off. Brayboy, a South Carolina native and campaign manager, and Bird, a veteran of the Wake Up Wal-Mart! campaign and Obama's field director, implemented the plan to perfection.
South Carolina Democratic Party: More than 530,000 people participated in the Democratic presidential primary in the Palmetto State. Compare that to the 445,000 -- or so -- who voted on the Republican side last weekend. Then remember that George W. Bush won the state with 57 percent in 2000 and 58 percent in 2004, and that South Carolina's governor, two senators and four of its six House members are Republicans. Given that backdrop, the fact that 85,000 more people participated in the Democratic primary should be a huge concern for Republicans nationwide, as it would appear to be speak to a widening intensity gap between the bases of the two parties. Carol Fowler, chairwoman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, called last night's vote "a huge rejection of the Republican Party at both the federal and state level."
Exit Polls: Much maligned following the 2000 presidential election, exit polls are making a comeback this time around. Not only did exits accurately predict that New Hampshire's Democratic vote would be far closer than most people expected, but last night in South Carolina the final exit polls nearly nailed the actual results -- Obama at 54 percent, Hillary Clinton at 27 percent and former senator John Edwards at 19 percent.
Joe Erwin: The former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party went in big for Obama and it paid off. Erwin is taking a serious look at the 2010 governor's race and should get a very nice boost within the party after picking right in a major way yesterday.
Early to Bed Fans: The Fix is no night owl. And the call of the race the moment the polls closed at 7 p.m. ET made for an early night. Now, if Feb. 5 could just follow that same blueprint...
Darrell Jackson: A state senator, pastor and ad man, Jackson was the focus of a pitched recruiting battle between Clinton and Obama last year, a fight won by Clinton. But Jackson, who is black, was unable to counter the massive momentum for the Illinois senator in the state's African American community. Given that Clinton received just 19 percent of the black vote statewide, one wonders whether the competition for Jackson's services in the next Democratic presidential primary will be quite as heated.
John Edwards: The breadth of Obama's victory overshadowed the continued struggles of the former North Carolina senator to remain relevant. Unlike New Hampshire or Nevada, Edwards came into South Carolina with a demonstrated base of support. He won the primary just four years ago with 45 percent of the vote and was born in the Palmetto State. Even so, Edwards never seemed to connect with South Carolinians -- especially black voters -- this time around, evidenced by the fact that he received just two -- TWO! -- percent of the black vote, according to exit polls. Edwards vowed to continue in the race through Feb. 5 and beyond, but he is becoming more and more of an afterthought with each passing primary.
The Fix's Heart: Already overtaxed by the stresses of serving as fan-in-chief for Catholic University's field hockey team and the ups and downs of Election 2008, The Fix's ticker can't take the sort of games Georgetown's basketball team has been playing of late. Last night's heart-attack inducing one-point win at West Virginia is just the latest example. And just for the record, that was a legitimate block -- and one heck of an athletic play -- by Patrick Ewing Jr. HOYA SAXA!
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