Obama's appeal in the Volunteer State

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) -- Some Knox County political junkies spent Sunday afternoon sticking, chalking and talking up Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Just 24 hours before, the Illinois senator had finished sweeping through the state of South Carolina.

Where he scored a convincing landslide victory over Senator Hillary Clinton in the Palmetto Primary.

The results were enough to convince many of his supporters that Barack’s Tuesday could be a super one in Tennessee, in a little over a week.

"We're just really fired up about this,” said Anne Marie Sherman, who is standing by her man. “We know Barack Obama is going to bring a lot change to our country."

Sherman was joined by about another dozen supporters on Sunday, helping to spread the word via flyers and sidewalk chalk.

"I think beyond unifying parties, he can unify an America," said Ian Orr.

Their enthusiasm came on the heels of Obama’s sweeping win in South Carolina, gaining two vote to every one for Sen. Clinton.

"That was incredible and we were so excited,” Sherman said. “I know that the same thing is going to happen here in Tennessee if we really put hard work into it."

Other democrats say the outcome isn’t set in stone.

"I think it's going to break very oddly and not very predictably across the country," said Jim Gray, the former Chairman of the Knox County Democrats, who does think that Obama’s appeal stuck out in the South Carolina win. “He got 80 percent of the black vote, which was a large chunk. But he also got 25 percent of the white vote and more interestingly, two-thirds of all people 30 and under, regardless of race."

Betty Reed also plans to vote for Obama.

"I think he'd make a great President,” Reed said, “not because he's black, but because he's wanting to give the government back to the people."

But she worries most Tennessee voters aren't ready to throw their support behind an African American president.

"I'm just being realistic,” said Reed.

When the primaries are all said and done, republicans say they will be ready to pull out the stops so the Volunteer State can keep it's conservative history.

"We'll make sure at the end of the day Tennessee’s eleven electoral votes are for a republican President," said Corey Johns, vice chairman of the Knox County Republicans.

On Sunday, Obama said his 28 percent victory over Sen. Clinton shows he appeals to voters of all colors and religions.

If you want to cast your vote in early voting, you will have until Thursday, Jan 31st.


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