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W.Va. highlights candidates' differences

May 12, 2008 at 1:29 PM

CHARLESTON, W.Va., May 12 (UPI) -- Supporters for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., buoyed by his success last week, fanned across West Virginia as the Mountain State prepares for Tuesday's primary.

West Virginia is considered friendlier to Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Recent polls show Clinton holding a 20-percentage-point lead, but analysts say results shouldn't affect the Democratic nominating contest, in which Obama leads in wins, pledged delegates and superdelegates, The Sun, a Baltimore newspaper, reported Monday.

Obama's state volunteers altered their message after Obama's huge victory in North Carolina and squeaker loss in Indiana put him within reach of the nomination. They're telling Clinton's supporters to look ahead to November and presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., The Sun said.

"Everything you do has a benefit for November," said Thomas Bowen, Obama's West Virginia spokesman.

Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson called West Virginia a "key swing state" in the general election and said Obama's likely loss would intensify questions about his electability.

State elections officials predict a turnout of 60 percent Tuesday, well above the usual 40 percent for a presidential primary, Deputy Secretary of State Sarah Bailey told The Sun.

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