More than 400 people filled the Mad Art Gallery in Soulard Tuesday night to cheer on Illinois Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama, as he took the Democratic nomination for president, ending a marathon primary season between he and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY.
The watch party – where attendees looked at incoming poll results on a large projection screen – was originally to be held at The Royale, a much smaller restaurant and bar on Kingshighway.
''By the time the e-mail went out and people began to RSVP, we had over 300 people in the first hour,'' said a tired-sounding Brian Wahby, who is the St. Louis city Democratic chairman, on Wednesday morning.
During the Missouri Democratic Primary on February 5, Obama won by 11,732 votes over Clinton (former U.S. Sen. John Edwards dropped out of the race a few days earlier).
As Missouri political observers know, the state's voters have picked the eventual president in every general election since 1904, with the exception of the 1956 general election. History has shown that on election day in November, how Missouri goes, so goes the country. In January, a poll conducted by Research 2000 showed that 47 percent voters polled would vote for Obama, 42 percent would vote for Arizona Senator and Republican presidential nominee John McCain and 11 percent were undecided.
So far in Missouri, fifteen of the sixteen superdelegates have committed to either Clinton or Obama. Ten pledged their support to Obama, while five aligned with Clinton. That leaves only Missouri National Education Association official Leila Medley uncommitted as of Wednesday morning.
Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon, Secretary of State Robin Caranhan and state Democratic Party chairman John Temporiti waited until the last minute to pledge their support to Obama – perhaps a smart political move if not risky at all – by doing so Tuesday night. State party vice chairwoman Yolanda Wheat pledged her support Tuesday afternoon, announced the Obama campaign.
''7:19 p.m.: Give Chris Matthews any excuse to bring up Larry Craig, and he's going to take it. Minneapolis airport bathroom jokes redux.''
City Pages also posted a slide show of the event here.
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