Saturday, March 08, 2008

Historic day for Wyoming Democrats

"Democracy," as someone once said, "is messy."

Sure, but it's fun too.

Today in Cheyenne, we had 1,532 Democrats vote in a presidential preference poll. I manned one of the ballot boxes, aided by a stalwart Hillary Clinton volunteer from North Dakota. Our job: make sure that each person votes only once. Caucus-goers, some of whom stood in line two hours to get inside, were a bit restless, anxious to vote and get to work or get home to relieve the babysitter. Two school teachers stood next to the crude voting machine (me), ready to cast their votes and get to an in-service that started at 8:45. They finally got to vote at 10. One young woman had to pick up her baysitter, drop her off at her house, and then go to work, all by 10. She didn't make it to work on time. But she stayed, and cast a vote.

Final tally: 941 votes for Barack Obama, 588 for Hillary Clinton. Three votes were for Edwards or another Dem on the ballot who had dropped out of the race along the way.

Statewide, said CNN, Obama came out ahead in the caucus votes 59-40 percent. He clinched seven delegates while Hillary got five.

The race for the Democratic Party's presidential nominee continues. Wyoming's vote solved nothing, really, but it taught us some things. First, there are more Democrats in Wyoming than we think. Flood them with phone calls, mailers, and TV ads, add a dash of national media coverage, and they'll turn out at the caucuses. Second, Democrats have to do a better job keeping those people involved and motivated.

Today, anyway, there was more than enough motivation to go around. Oilfield workers and government employees and stay-at-home moms were angry about the state of the nation, and the fact that George W. Bush has nearly ruined this country. One of those stay-at-home moms, a young woman named Sarah, spoke in public for the first time today, she said, in an effort to become a Clinton delegate at the state convention on Memorial Day weekend in Jackson. She fell a few votes short in the delegate count, but got the nod as an alternate. She joins my wife, Chris, as a Clinton alternate. I was selected as an Obama delegate. In Jackson, when I'm not delegating, I'll be blogging.

Both CNN and Fox did broadcasts from the Cheyenne caucus (see photo above). When the emcee noted that Fox News was on-site, the crowd roundly booed. The Fox cameraman bowed, no doubt used to such warm receptions from crowds of Democrats

On to Mississippi and beyond....

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