Virginia primary analysis

1. John Edwards’ strategy in this primary was to get the “NASCAR dads” to vote for him, and he seems to have succeeded. Winning this segment of the vote is important, because it gives him a base (albeit a small one), and with a base, he has a justification for continuing his campaign.

Edwards’ geographical base in Virginia can be roughly mapped by drawing a triangle with edges at Martinsville, Pulaski, and Kingsport, TN. He won six contiguous counties in this area (as well as winning three counties and a city outside of it). He also received strong support in the area around Roanoke, and won Harrisonburg.

(Notable fact: All nine of the counties Edwards won voted for Bush in 2000.)

2. Wesley Clark and Howard Dean, on the other hand, won nothing. Clark’s best showing was in Lynchburg, where he picked up 24% of the vote; Dean topped out in the college town of Harrisonburg, winning 16% of the vote. Dean’s performance is forgivable — few presumed he’d be strong in the South. Clark, however, should drop out at this point.

3. John Kerry ran strong throughout the state, but did especially well in the African-American areas of southeastern Virginia and the old Union counties on the Kentucky border. He easily beat Al Sharpton in the African-American stronghold of Petersburg (66-13 Kerry), and that’s where Sharpton ran best. As with Clark, it’s time for Sharpton to go.

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