Oregon shifts to the center of the hotly contested race for the Democratic presidential nomination this weekend, as both candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, are slated to visit the Beaver State Friday and Saturday. With the May 20 Oregon primary quickly approaching, both campaigns are gearing up in the Pacific Northwest in hopes of earning the state’s all-important 65 delegates.
Oregon shifts to the center of the hotly contested race for the Democratic presidential nomination this weekend, as both candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, are slated to visit the Beaver State Friday and Saturday.
After wrapping up a town hall-style rally just outside of Central Point, Ore., yesterday, Clinton is scheduled to host a roundtable discussion concerning health issues at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at OHSU this morning. The roundtable discussion is an invitation-only event.
Obama plans to speak at an invitation-only event with the employees of a high-tech company in Beaverton Saturday morning, before heading south to Albany for a town hall discussion. He will head even further down the I-5 corridor to Eugene for a night rally at the University of Oregon. The Illinois senator will then hold a town hall meeting at Summit High School in Bend, Saturday morning.
With the May 20 Oregon primary quickly approaching, both campaigns are gearing up in the Pacific Northwest in hopes of earning the state’s all-important 65 delegates.
Both campaigns have recently visited Oregon.
Obama spoke at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum and the University of Oregon on March 21, wrapping up his visit in Medford a day later.
Clinton held town hall meetings in Hillsboro and Eugene, while the New York senator’s husband and daughter, former President Bill and Chelsea Clinton, have also made several visits to Oregon cities.
As Obama edges a slight lead over Clinton in delegates, Nick Shapiro, Oregon communications director for Obama, calls Oregon the final “big state” in the two candidates’ bid for the Democratic nomination.
“Right now, Oregon plays a pivotal role,” Shapiro said. “We are optimistic about a win in Oregon and what it will mean for the Democratic Party and all of Oregon.”
Julie Edwards, spokesperson for the Clinton campaign in Oregon, said that Obama’s campaign has outspent Clinton’s over the past few presidential primaries, a trend she believes will likely continue.
But Edwards said that based on the way Oregonians are responding to Clinton’s messages, those involved in the campaign feel pretty good about their current situation.
There are currently 873,690 registered Democrats in the state of Oregon, according to Scott Moore, chief of communications for the Oregon Secretary of State office. From Jan. 1 to April 29, a total of 90,631 Oregonians switched their party affiliation registration, with over 80 percent switching to Democrat.
Rudy Soto, Portland State student body president, said he strongly encourages all students, no matter their political affiliation or preference, to attend the Clinton and Obama events over the next few days.
“You can only make a sound decision of who to support if you hear all of the different opinions,” Soto said. “I think that is something that our higher education has taught us-to get all sides.”
Despite the fact that student government as a whole is unable to endorse a candidate, Soto said as an individual he feels more than inclined to support Obama. He said he has been working closely with the Obama campaign, and has focused most of his efforts on the youth vote.
Student body president-elect Hannah Fisher echoes Soto’s sentiment about encouraging students to attend the political events this weekend.
“Please don’t be apathetic and get involved in the process, because this election is going to have an impact on the rest of our lives,” Fisher said to students. “For the first time ever, Oregon matters in the primaries and it’s incredibly important to be active in that.”
Fisher believes that Clinton is the more qualified candidate because of her immense amount of experience, but plans to vote for Obama because she thinks Clinton’s image has been shattered in the media.
Both Soto and Fisher said they would support bringing the Democratic candidates as well as Republican nominee John McCain to campus to ensure equality. Soto said he is currently in the planning stages of organizing an event for Obama on campus, and hopes to finalize the arrangements before the Oregon primaries on May 20.