Hillary Rodham Clinton coasted to an overwhelming but largely symbolic victory in working class West Virginia on Tuesday. But with an almost insurmountable lead in the delegate tally, Obama may be just a few weeks from clinching the party’s nomination before the end of the primary season on June 3 even if he loses most of the remaining contests in four states and Puerto Rico.
Clinton showed no signs of being ready to give up her bid to become the first female US president. She coupled praise for Obama with a pledge to persevere in a campaign in which she has become the decided underdog.
Obama conceded defeat in advance but was looking ahead to the Oregon primary next week and to the general election campaign against Republican John McCain. But the West Virginia defeat underscored his weakness among blue collar voters who will be pivotal in the fall.