Super Tuesday

Delirium, despair and disgust as results roll in

A man wearing glasses and carrying a gray fleece over his right arm walks through the castle-size door at The Graduate on Super Tuesday night. His gaze is attracted to the big screen flashing election results. Linda Furr waves her hand, and he sees it out of the corner of his eye.

Ali Sarsour grabs a chair and sits with a crowd of about 30 Sen. Barack Obama supporters gathered to learn whether their Democratic presidential candidate fared well and their own grassroots efforts were successful. Moments later, at 7:32, they cheer when CNN projects that Obama has won Minnesota. They give another cheer when early results for California show Obama in the lead, 49-43, over Sen. Hillary Clinton.

By the end of the evening, however, the cheers diminish as the networks project a Clinton victory in California. Still, the local organizers hope their efforts will show in county poll results.

And to some extent they do. Obama received a higher percentage of the vote in Butte County, 44.1 percent, than he did statewide, 42.4 percent, but he still lost to Clinton here. She received 45 percent of the vote in Butte County and 51.9 percent statewide. Obama and Clinton split the delegates from the 2nd Congressional District, each taking two.

Along with calling voters for the past three months, waving signs at busy intersections and organizing a “Walk for Barack,” during which more than 130 people filled the streets downtown last Sat. (Feb. 2), Obama supporters campaigned through much of Tuesday. They had a booth on Chico State’s campus, and a couple of supporters decorated their cars to create the “Yes We Can Van” and an “Obamabile.”

Other local supporters were disappointed as well. The presidential candidate who received the most money from local voters, more than Clinton and Obama combined and also more than Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, received nearly the fewest votes. Ron Paul raised $39, 710 in Butte County, according to the Federal Elections Commission Web site, but received just 1,115 votes. That’s nearly $36 per vote.

Obama received $24,871 and Clinton $12,339 in local campaign contributions. Local Romney supporters ponied up $36,590 to his campaign, but Sen. John McCain easily won the state, nonetheless.

About 30 Paul supporters started their night at the Holiday Inn. Around 9:30, many of them headed for Nick’s Night Club to have a drink and talk politics. They were disgusted with the result and the election process overall.

“Ron Paul is the only one to talk about the issues: immediate withdrawal from Iraq, the Patriot Act, the Real ID Act, a sound monetary policy,” Kent Hinesley said. “Other candidates can speak for five minutes at a time and say nothing. Specifics can be attacked, but not glittering generalities.”