THE BLOG
03/28/2008 02:48 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Missouri Trends Toward Obama

Missouri has 88 Democratic delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday and if the tracking polls and the opinions of several state consultants and politicians are to be believed, Obama could chalk-up a win here.

Keith Dinesmore, a political consultant who knows the Missouri landscape said of St. Louis, "This is one of the most racially polarized cities in the country. About the only time the races mix is at a Cardinals baseball game, but there were 21,000 people at the Obama rally Saturday night in St. Louis. That's a good sign for Obama."

The popular Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill and other high profile celebs like Robert DeNiro, Oprah Winfrey, Senator Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy, along with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch endorsement, have given Obama's campaign a shot in the arm days before Super Tuesday, when 1648 delegates will be in contention nationally.

Whether a good ground game and political endorsements are enough to pull Obama over the finish line first in Missouri is another question, though some political experts in the Show Me state think he's got a good chance.

"Missouri doesn't have good race relations. But I heard from lots of people who attended the Obama rally at the Dome [Edward Jones Dome] last Saturday. There were whites and blacks there and Obama's message of unity really connected," said Bill Romjue, who lives in Jefferson City, Missouri, and most recently worked as a consultant for Joe Biden's presidential campaign.

Former John Edwards' supporter and county legislator from Kansas City, Missouri, Scott Burnett, said his daughter and wife were Obama supporters and when Edwards bowed out, both Clinton and Obama campaigns reached out to pull him - and his 100,000 constituents - into their camp.

"Senator Claire McCaskill called me and asked me to join the Obama campaign. I know the Clintons and I worked for Bill but Hillary just didn't excite me. I attended Obama's event last Monday in Kansas City. On one of the coldest days of the winter, about 6-7,000 people showed up and it was exciting. I think he'll do better in the rural Missouri than Hillary and right now, they are about even in the state. The Obama campaign is very well organized here."

For one Missouri political consultant and feminist activist, the move from her early support of Mrs. Clinton to make GOTPV (get out the primary vote) phone calls today at the Obama headquarters in St. Louis County has been fraught with angst and pain.

"This is the first time in my life that I could vote for a woman who is a viable candidate for president and I signed early-on as a supporter, even though her vote for the Iraq War was like a painful piece of glass. For most of the race, I was ambivalent, but when the Clintons started their race baiting and I saw polls indicating that Hillary would cut off 3% of the rural Democratic candidates in Missouri, I began moving away. I didn't make a decision to support Obama until Saturday night when I went down to the Dome and it's been one of the most difficult in my life. It's been a tectonic decision, but a true feminist votes for the best person.

"It was shocking to see young and old people, blacks and whites together and St. Louis is one of the most racially divided cities in America. Obama has already united St. Louis! Barack's message of hope, uniting, and healing is turning the page. We don't need to move back. We need to move forward. It was truly a transformational experience that I never thought I'd feel again."

The strong-arm tactics of the Clinton campaign of "threats and reprisals" have already "pissed her off" and concerned her so much, she wanted to remain anonymous.

"I went from feeling like Benedict Arnold [in terms of not supporting a woman for president] to supporting the candidate that inspires me, even if I may have to go to the political guillotine, it's worth it. I'm freed and I think a lot more people will be freed on Wednesday."

Predicting a good show for Obama and less-the-stellar performance by Clinton in Missouri, this feminist political consultant says that the trends seem to be in Obama's favor. The only question for Obama to resolve is the impact of early votes on Super Tuesday.

Romjue said, "The early votes in states like California will have a huge impact on Tuesday's races. Early voting will probably go Hillary when she was up and when Obama was down. The votes taken tomorrow will probably favor Obama. But in Missouri, early voting isn't a huge factor."

Who will win Missouri's contested 88 delegates?

Romjue said, "It's gonna be close in Missouri, just like it will be around the country. But Obama is moving so fast in the tracking polls, he's clearly got the momentum. If he does equally well with Hillary on Tuesday and he may because he's got the momentum, then we'll have to wait until next week, when a number of states have their primaries and caucuses, where he does well. He's got a good organization. He's got the money. He's got the message. He's proven he is viable with his latest big endorsements and debate performance."

Missouri is a bellwether state.

It has correctly chosen every president in the 20 and 21 centuries, with one exception. The Show-Me state could show the nation again, who might be the next president in a cycle that heavily favors the Democratic ticket.

Looking past Super Tuesday and the weeks beyond, Romjue did hazard an educated guess:

"If someone held a gun to my head, I'd say Barack will be the nominee."