Obama’s appeal sweeps isles
The Illinois senator wins in all districts and demographic groups in the state
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In Sen. Barack Obama's sweeping Hawaii victory, he won every district, shattered turnout records and brought tens of thousands of new members into the Democratic Party.
The Illinois senator, who was born and raised in the islands, handily defeated Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in all 81 caucus sites across the state, never winning with less than 60 percent of the vote, according to the Hawaii Democratic Party.
Overall, he got 76 percent of the vote compared with 24 percent for Clinton.
While the record caucus turnout of 37,426 voters overwhelmed the Democrats, party officials said yesterday that they believe the vote count will stand during a recount planned for this week.
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Hawaii had nothing but aloha for U.S. Sen. Barack Obama in Tuesday's Democratic presidential caucus.
Details made available to the Star-Bulletin show that Obama beat Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in each of the 51 state House districts.
According to Obama state coordinator Andy Winer, the results appeared to vary little from area to area. That was what he expected, because phone bank results also showed broad local support for Obama over Clinton, he said.
Obama's victory was never really in doubt. Even Clinton's Hawaii spokeswoman, state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, said she was expecting Obama to get 60 percent of the vote.
But the 76 percent that Obama received was significant, Hanabusa said.
"When you listen to the people in the precincts, the whole thing is that he is the local boy. That was the whole pitch: He is from here and he is a local boy," Hanabusa said.
Winer counters that Obama's strong appeal was coupled with the campaign's ability to plan and organize.
"The results were what we were seeing in our phone banks. We were seeing the same 3-to-1 spread.
"The support was the same across age, gender, ethnic and geographic groups," Winer said.
Looking at the strong showing in the 24th District in Manoa, Winer said the campaign had the support of Rep. Neil Abercrombie and his spouse, Nancie Caraway.
"The area is Neil's home district, and he and his wife just did the roll-up-your-sleeves grass-roots work. It is incredible how just a few dedicated people can make the difference," Winer said.
Obama had his best showing in that district, grabbing 1,132 votes out of 1,415 cast, or 80 percent.
For both local campaigns, the next challenge is wooing the superdelegates votes. The presidential preference poll at the Tuesday caucus gave Obama 14 and Clinton six of the 20 pledged delegate votes, but there are still nine superdelegates for Hawaii, some of whom are committed to a candidate but can change their vote.
U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye insists he will stay with Clinton, and Abercrombie will not budge from supporting Obama. Richard Port, national committeeman, is also backing Clinton, while the remaining delegates either have not committed or have not been selected by the party.
"We hope the numbers from the caucus will speak for themselves, and ultimately they will realize that they should follow the will of the people," Winer said.
But Hanabusa said the superdelegates, such as the congressional delegation and the national committeeman and committeewoman, are elected and they already are reflective of the voters' thinking.
"You just have to trust the superdelegates that they are going to do what they think is best," Hanabusa said.