How Obama Did It: The Delegate Strategy

Delegate-by-delegate fight led to historic upset
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2008 8:29 AM CDT
Barack Obama and his wife arrive at a primary night rally Tuesday, June 3, 2008, in St. Paul, Minn.    (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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(Newser) – Last night was not a triumphant coronation for Barack Obama, whose campaign limped over the finish line in Montana and South Dakota. But the Illinois senator's victory over Hillary Clinton—one of the biggest upsets in US political history, writes the Washington Post—was never about glamorous wins in battleground states. Rather, the campaign fought delegate by delegate in an uphill "slog" against the establishment candidate.

Team Obama did painstaking analysis of the delegate apportionment—even noting that districts awarding an odd number were worth more effort, since those with even numbers could end up a tie. The campaign avoided big-state showdowns where Clinton already had an advantage, instead targeting small states and caucuses. The result: a mathematical avalanche that buried one of the most formidable names in Democratic politics. (Read more Barack Obama stories.)