Local Clinton and Obama campaigns focus on Oregon

It was business as usual for the Obama and Clinton campaigns Tuesday night in Oregon.

Volunteers at New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's headquarters in Portland erupted in cheers for five minutes at the news of her primary victory in Pennsylvania.

"We cheered and then went back to work," said Julie Edwards, Clinton's Oregon communications director.

Edwards said Clinton volunteers were excited at the big win, but remained focused on Oregon's May 20 primary in which 52 delegates are up for grabs.

"Pennsylvania was a resounding victory considering she was outspent three to one and endured a barrage of advertising," Edwards added.

The Clinton campaign is looking forward to a busy week as news has spread that former president Bill Clinton is making a second stop in Oregon Friday and Saturday. Edwards did not reveal where in the state he plans to stop.

Edwards said supporters were energized by Sen. Clinton's last visit, when she "talked about the issues that are important to Oregonians such as county payments, liquefied natural gas lines and terminals and green jobs."

Meanwhile, at Barack Obama's headquarters in Medford, volunteers worked the phones to drum up support for the Illinois senator's presidential bid.

Everyone seemed in good spirits Tuesday evening despite the setback in Pennsylvania.

"This is really what we expected to see," said Obama campaign volunteer Mike Ely. "Now that we have Pennsylvania behind us we can concentrate on Oregon."

Ely was impressed with Obama's late surge to cut into Clinton's 20-point deficit. By late Tuesday the major media outlets had reported that Clinton won with 55 percent support with 94 percent of precincts reporting.

The strategy from here on for Obama is to continue to work had to pick up delegates on the way to the Democratic National Convention in August, said Obama communication director Nick Shapiro.

"Whatever happens (Tuesday) is unlikely to change the dynamic of this primary at all," Shapiro added. "This is a race for delegates. It places Oregon as a more important state."

However, both camps agreed that the high voter turnout in Pennsylvania is a good sign for the Democratic party.

"From what we are hearing people are excited to be a part of this process," Edwards said.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.

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