Republicans have been voting for Hillary Clinton in open Democratic primaries in an attempt to damage the Democrats. According to exit polls, Republican voters have cast about 100,000 votes for her in Ohio, 119,000 in Texas, and about 38,000 in Mississippi.
Since Sen. John McCain effectively sewed up the GOP nomination last month, Republicans have begun participating in Democratic primaries specifically to vote for Clinton, a tactic that some voters and local Republican activists think will help their party in November.
With every delegate important in the tight Democratic race, this trend could help shape the outcome if it continues in the remaining Democratic primaries open to all voters.
Spurred by conservative talk radio, GOP voters who say they would never back Clinton in a general election are voting for her now for strategic reasons: Some want to prolong her bitter nomination battle with Barack Obama, others think she would be easier to beat than Obama in the fall, or they simply want to register objections to Obama.
“It’s as simple as, I don’t think McCain can beat Obama if Obama is the Democratic choice,” said Kyle Britt, 49, a Republican-leaning independent from Huntsville, Texas, who voted for Clinton in the March 4 primary. “I do believe Hillary can mobilize enough people to keep her out of office.”
Britt, who works in financial services, said he is certain he will vote for McCain in November.
About 1,100 miles north, in Granville, Ohio, Ben Rader, 66, a retired entrepreneur, said he voted for Clinton in Ohio’s primary to further confuse the Democratic race. “I’m pretty much tired of the Clintons, and to see her squirm for three or four months with Obama beating her up, it’s great, it’s wonderful,” he said. “It broke my heart, but I had to.”
Local Republican activists say stories like these abound in Texas, Ohio and Mississippi, the three states where the recent surge in Republicans voting for Clinton was evident.
If we can verify the number of votes cast for Hillary by Republicans trying to disrupt the open Democratic primaries, those votes should be invalidated and Hillary should lose those delegates.