Going Over the Top in Oregon?

Oregon supporters of Barack Obama are hoping Hillary Clinton will drop out of the race - but not until after May 20.

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Oregon supporters of Barack Obama are hoping Hillary Clinton will drop out of the race - but not until after May 20.


That's the date when the results of Oregon's vote-by-mail primary will be announced. And Obama's supporters are speculating that the state's 52 delegates might push their guy over the top to capture the Democratic presidential nomination.

Here's the math: Obama needs 2,025 delegate votes to be nominated. After winning big in North Carolina and losing a squeaker in Indiana on Tuesday he now has 1,851, according to the New York Times count. (Clinton has 1,688.) Only six primaries remain, with a total of 217 votes at stake.

The West Virginia primary comes on May 13, with 28 delegates to be won. But Clinton is the heavy favorite to capture most of those. Ditto for Kentucky's 51 delegates, to be awarded in that state's May 20 primary.

So depending on how well or poorly Obama does in West Virginia and Kentucky, and on how many of the approximately 200 still uncommitted superdelegates break his way between now and May 20, Oregon could give the Illinois senator the votes he needs to become the first African-American presidential nominee of a major party.

"If Clinton were to drop out this week," the Daily Kos blog wrote after Tuesday's primaries, "we'd face an uncomfortable situation in West Virginia, with Clinton likely crushing Obama. That would look terrible for the presumptive nominee.

"Better than that would be to garner enough superdelegate commitments this week, so that Oregon can push Obama past 2,024. That way, it isn't the supers who clinch it for Obama, but actual voters."

And actual Oregon voters, at that.

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