The Hillary Deathwatch

Down and on the way out.
May 21 2008 1:06 AM

The Hillary Deathwatch

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With Tuesday's contests in Kentucky and Oregon, Barack Obama seizes a majority of pledged delegates. April fundraising numbers show Obama still leads in the money race. And key figures ditch Hillary. Obama now needs about 70 delegates to attain the "magic number" of 2025, so we're dropping Clinton's chances 0.9 points to 0.7 percent. For every 10 delegates Obama wins, Clinton will drop another 0.1 until … let's just say she'll need a snorkel.

Obama did not declare victory Tuesday night, but he came about as close as one can get. "You have put us within reach of the Democratic nomination for president of the United States," he told a Des Moines, Iowa, crowd. He needed only 17 pledged delegates to secure a majority. In Kentucky, it looks like he won about 14; in Oregon, about 30.

Plus, winning the majority of pledged delegates comes with a bonus: superdelegates. DemConWatch keeps track of members of the so-called "Pelosi Club"—superdelegates who have said they would support the winner of the pledged delegate count. If they keep their word and vote for Obama, he'll gain seven supers, including Madame Speaker, and Clinton will lose one.

The question now is, how long will it take Barack Obama to win the remaining 70 delegates? Superdelegates could decide to endorse him en masse Wednesday. But chances are they'll wait for the contests to finish. The remaining primaries hold a total of 86 pledged delegates. Even if Obama gets only half of those, he'll need only about one-quarter of the 179 remaining uncommitted superdelegates to hit 2,025.

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Both campaigns announced their April fundraising hauls Tuesday night. Clinton raked in an impressive $22 million—people really are going to HillaryClinton.com, aren't they?—but Obama topped it with $31.3 million.

Meanwhile, key figures continue to abandon Clinton. Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who took Clinton under his wing when she joined the Senate (after leading the charge against her health care plan in the '90s, of course), endorsed Obama yesterday. Another loyalist, former Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman, reportedly urged Clinton to drop out.

For a full list of our Deathwatches, click here. For a primer on Hillary's sinking ship, visit our first Deathwatch entry. Send your own prognostications to hillarydeathwatch@gmail.com.

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.

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