Wednesday, November 05, 2008 By Aaron Brown
I was watching seven precincts for an indication of how things were going in different corners of the Iron Range region. In these precincts, the total number of votes was about the same, but often slightly smaller. In Hibbing P10, 200 fewer voters weighed in this year, which says some bad things about our upcoming census. These are all rounded.
Keewatin: Obama 77, McCain 20 (Obama -3 from Kerry's percentage)
Hibbing P10: Obama 66, McCain 32 (Obama -2 from Kerry's percentage)
McDavitt Township: Obama 64, McCain 32 (Obama -2 from Kerry's percentage)
Virginia P5: Obama 64, McCain 34.2 (Obama -2 from Kerry's percentage)
Fayal Township: Obama 62, McCain 36 (Obama -2 from Kerry's percentage)
Grand Rapids P1: Obama 56, McCain 42 (Obama -1 from Kerry's percentage)
Balsam Township: Obama 52, McCain 46 (OBAMA PLUS FIVE!)
Yes, Balsam flipped from red to blue AND matched the national popular vote. Balsam is the new Ohio.
And yes, you could say that this looks bad because 2008 seems so big in comparison with 2004 but our numbers were just slightly lower for the DFL standard-bearer. Not so for me. If you were in the gas stations and bars of the Iron Range and heard some of the vile, racist things that were being said by a vocal few, you would have been worried about much worse. In truth, the vast majority of Iron Range DFLers proved that the issues are more important than the color of a person's skin ... which is why this election is so important for us all. I don't intent to imply that all non-Obama voters are racist. Hardly. I just mean that race was much less of an overall factor than anyone was predicting a few weeks ago, certain a few months ago. The divide and conquer strategy might work for Republicans in western Pennsylvania, but not here.
Furthermore, I find that younger people on the Iron Range are actually more Republican than older people (not a majority; just some movement on the scale). So as time goes by, you may see these Range numbers soften a bit ... but the core DFL economic values should remain supreme.