Watching the huge line of Barack Obama caucusgoers snake around the front yard of Poe Elementary school in Houston, you'd think the senator from Illinois had given Hillary Clinton a walloping during the day's primary. Abundant and confident, "Obama Mamas," as some had taken to calling themselves during the lengthy wait—dominated not only in numbers but in the pure abundance of signs, stickers, and cheers emanating from their group. Now, the supporters are left waiting once again for the results of the caucus to become official.
Across Texas, lines formed at caucus sites as eager voters waited hours to caucus for their candidate. Although we don't know the final caucus results, Obama appears to have fared better across the state.
Most caucusgoers remained collegial, but Kathy DeLange, 64, a retired school psychologist and Obama supporter who was carrying a large poster with a red, white, and blue print of Obama's face, said tensions ran a bit high when voters had to wait in line to get into the caucus. She said some Clinton supporters were chiding her for her support of Obama. The Clinton supporters, however, were outnumbered at this polling station.
The mood was generally positive, but as caucusing continued late into the evening, some became visibly irritated with the process. Gary Chamness, a breast cancer researcher and Clinton supporter, introduced a resolution to get rid of the caucus system in Texas because Texas gets "the worst of both systems.... Most of the people here have no idea what this is all about," says Chamness.
The final caucus tally at the District 40 polling place reflected the imbalance: In unofficial results, Obama received 227 pledges of support; Clinton, 98. In terms of delegates, that means Obama could send 30 delegates compared with Clinton's 13 to the county and district conventions on March 29.
The primary there, however, was a whole other story. In that contest, Obama won only by a hair. He received 315 votes to Clinton's 290. Fred Hofheinz, the two-time Democratic mayor of Houston, presided over the caucus, though he did not endorse either candidate.
His take on what happened: "The Obama people did their homework. They knew what was going to happen, so they were prepared. In a complex election system, you have to train for it." If the rest of the state's caucuses go the same way, Hofheinz says, it could tip the state toward Obama.