There was a little color detail tucked into an Oregonian story about the presidential campaigning around Portland on Sunday: Former President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea were there at a couple of events for Senator Hillary Clinton, and near midday they stopped into a downtown eatery called Mother's Bistro. (We've dined there, and it was a good choice.) Only problem was, Mother's is located just a few blocks from the waterfront park where Senator Barack Obama was about to deliver his rally speech. This was the famous rally where he drew about 75,000 people. Meaning that the Clintons had to wade through crowds of people headed for the Obama rally as they made their way through downtown . . . what an experience that must have been . . .
But it seems a reasonable metaphor for what just about everyone expected out of Oregon this evening: A decisive Obama win, at about 58% roughly on the button of what we had thought likely. And enough, more than enough, to send the Illinois senator over the majority of pledged convention delegates.
Oregon was never likely to be a Clinton state, unlike same-timed Kentucky, on the opposing pole. But a strong Obama organization probably kicked up the numbers a little.
The map of the results explains a bit of why. (These percentages reflect 78% of the vote in.) Obama did best in the metro regions of the state - in fact, he took almost all of the most populous counties: Multnomah (a whopping 64%), Washington (57%), Clackamas (53%), Lane (62%), Marion (52%), Jackson (59%), Deschutes ( 60%), Yamhill (52%), Benton (69%). The major population-center exception was Linn County (the Albany area), which he barely lost.
Clinton won a string of counties too, but they were nearly all rural, and most of them are relatively remote. Her best in the state (among the 34 reporting so far) is lightly populated Morrow County (60%); other counties she won include Malheur, Lake, Harney, Grant, Umatilla, Klamath. The biggest county she won was Douglas (the Roseburg area), which is very rural, and much of it quite remote from any urban area. Tillamook County (which narrowly went for Clinton) sort of fits the mold too.
Having said that, here are some of the other counties Obama won: Curry, te very remote county at the far southwest of the state; Wallowa, very remote at the far northeast, and Grant County in the middle of the state, a truly rural and out of the way stretch.
These patterns will be worth kicking around again in the days ahead.