The Rest Of The Story

West Virginia's Democratic primary and the Mississippi special congressional election got all the attention yesterday – and for good reasons. Hillary Clinton, declared finished by just about everyone in the political and media world, won a primary race against presumed nominee Barack Obama by 40 – yes 40 – points. In Mississippi, Republicans got another sign of the coming electoral apocalypse when they lost a House seat in a district where President Bush won 62 percent of the vote in 2004.

But Nebraska also held a primary yesterday with Obama and Clinton on the ballot. It was just a beauty contest since all the state's delegates were awarded in caucuses on February 9th, but the results are interesting nonetheless. Driven by a competitive U.S. Senate primary, nearly 90,000 Nebraska Democrats cast a vote for one of the two candidates and Obama edged out Clinton by just over 2,000 votes, taking 49 percent of the vote while Clinton claimed 47 percent.

Obama won a big victory in February's caucuses, getting 68 percent of the vote and capturing 16 of the 24 delegates up for grabs. There's no way to tell whether Clinton would have done as well as she did in the meaningless beauty contest yesterday given that neither campaign was paying any attention to it. But it is a good reminder of why the Clinton campaign has long preferred primaries over caucuses. And, it's an indication that while everyone else may have written Clinton off, voters aren't. "People haven't written her off," said Judy Monaghan, who ran Clinton's efforts in the state. "This is going to energize her supporters. I think there's still an opening. It's a narrow window, but it's an opening."