Obama and Huckabee Win Much-Ignored Primaries

Yesterday, Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee won some contests the media weren’t covering.

Obama and Huckabee Win Much-Ignored Primaries Sen. Barack Obama swept the Louisiana primary and caucuses in Nebraska and Washington state Saturday night, slicing into Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s slender delegate lead in their historic race for the Democratic presidential nomination. The Illinois senator also won caucuses in the Virgin Islands, completing his best night of the campaign.


McCain flunked his first ballot tests since becoming the Republican nominee-in-waiting. He lost Kansas caucuses to Mike Huckabee, gaining less than 24 percent of the vote. Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, got nearly 60 percent of the vote a few hours after saying, “I majored in miracles, and I still believe in them.” He won all 36 delegates at stake. Huckabee also won the Louisiana primary, but fell short of 50 percent, the threshold necessary to pocket the 20 delegates that were available. Instead, they will be awarded at a state convention next weekend. McCain won the third Republican race of the night, Washington’s caucuses. None of the state’s delegates will be awarded until next week.

If this was Obama’s “best night,” he’s in trouble. The bottom line is that few were paying attention to these contests.

Like it or not, the media narrative of the race matters greatly. The script goes like this: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, Super Tuesday, Beltway Three (Virginia, DC, Maryland). Everything that goes on outside that framework is treated as subplot.

Just ask Mitt Romney. He was leading the delegate race after South Carolina because he ran virtually unopposed in Wyoming and Nevada and he also beat McCain head-to-head in Michigan in a competitive race. But he’d failed to win any of the “real” primaries and McCain took three of the four going into Super Tuesday.

Last night’s wins give Obama a teeny bit of momentum and help feed the notion that Clinton is in trouble. But the impact will be negligible, indeed, compared to a good showing next Tuesday.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    Speaking of next tuesday, I think Obama will handily win in Maryland and DC, and has more than a good chance of picking up Virginia.

  2. Patrick T McGuire says:

    The bottom line is that few were paying attention to these contests.

    Yep! Only the voters in those states.

  3. Elmo says:

    The media narrative is everything. Likely, they …. the media will not be satisfied with their saintly portrayal of Obama. And until G*d himself takes umbrage at the nonstop 24/7 references/comparisons (between him and the good Senator from Illinois). We will sadly be ‘blessed’ with a lot more.

  4. Derrick says:

    I’m not sure why you believe that Obama and Huck are the story of yesterday, when actually it is clearly the weakness of McCain as the presumptive nominee. Obviously, Kansas and LA were Huck’s type of states (Southern, heavily evangelical). But you have a race with a clear winner and Republicans refusing to coalesce behind that winner. Even in the Washington primary, McCain didn’t do to well. McCain is going to have to do some serious work with his party’s base to have any chance of victory in the general, especially if its Obama, who can probably at least break even with Independents.

  5. Triumph says:

    Yesterday, Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee won some contests the media weren’t covering.

    I don’t know how you can say the media wasn’t covering the story. Stories about the caucus were on the front pages of all the major papers (NT Times, Wash. Post, Atlanta Journal Constitution, LA TImes. SF Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe) and scores of minor papers–from the Annison Star to the Fargo Forum.

    It just isn’t accurate to say the media wasn’t covering the story.

    A quick browse through the front page database at Newseum tells a different story.