MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (TDB) -- Sen. Hillary Clinton cruised to an easy victory in a presidential straw poll sponsored by the Butler County Democratic Party. John Edwards came in second. While official numbers are not yet up on the SW Ohio party's Web site, county chairman Ron Wardrup confirmed the New York senator's win. He told The Daily Bellwether:
"It was a pretty big win for her, she sort of ran away from everybody. Edwards was second, Obama was third. Hillary was big. I don't know if I would say I was surprised. But it was a pretty good win."
Wardrup said the official numbers should be available by tomorrow. He is an official with the United Steelworkers Union, which is officially supporting Edwards. Butler County and Middletown are the home of AK Steel, and while the county votes Republican, labor is still a force in local Democratic politics. The county is also the home of House Minority Leader John Boehner, and it gave President Bush a huge margin over John Kerry in 2004. Wardrup didn't come right out and say it during the interview, but others who spoke with The Bellwether said Butler County did not seem to be the kind of place that would be warm toward a Hillary Clinton candidacy, even among Dems. Wardrup said the straw poll seems to show Hillary has support in unexpected places.
"She certainly has an organization at the lower levels (grassroots) right now. They're more active. I don't think Edwards and Obama are out of the race, but she's strong. Labor supported Bill Clinton. We're not happy with the position he took on NAFTA, or trade in general. But labor can live with her, too. "
Wardrup doesn't buy into the theory that Hillary Clinton is unelectable in a general.
"I have heard that buzz some. I guess you could pose the same thing with any candidate, regardless of sex or race. Personally, I'd be satisfied with any of the top candidates. I couldn't say I dislike Hillary or Obama. They are certainly good candidates."