Clinton used Bush's plan to win Ohio
The Associated Press' Andrew Welsh-Huggins has this analysis of Clinton's win:
Hillary Rodham Clinton took a page from President Bush in her approach to winning the state's key presidential primary.
Bush famously won Ohio and the White House in 2004 thanks to support from rural voters. Following his lead, Clinton and surrogates like husband Bill, the former president left no corner of the state unturned.
That allowed her to defeat Barack Obama despite her rival's big victories in large urban counties traditionally seen as must-wins for candidates.
"We're very pleased with the outcome we got in Ohio," said Clinton senior adviser Ann Lewis. "It demonstrates Hillary's strength in reaching urban, suburban, exurban and yes, rural voters."
Clinton won 54 percent to 44 percent in Tuesday's Democratic primary according to unofficial results. Her victory came even though Obama won four of the state's biggest counties, the urban centers of greater Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati.
Some of Clinton's biggest margins came in rural southern Ohio, including a nearly 10,000-vote margin in Scioto County, where she had 81 percent of the vote, and a 3,000-vote margin in Jackson County, where she took 80 percent of the vote.
An Obama spokesman said Obama's Ohio showing indicated strong crossover support from Republicans and independents that will make him the strongest nominee against Republican candidate John McCain.
"Within the course of a month, we cut a 20-point deficit in half even though Sen. Clinton had the support of a popular governor and the bulk of the political establishment in the state," said Ben LaBolt, spokesman for Obama's Ohio campaign.
Despite Clinton's win at the polls, the two Democrats remain in a tight race for delegates that Obama pledged he would win.
Clinton has argued that her victories in the electoral-vote rich states of California, Ohio, New York and Texas make her more likely to carry the general election.
Polls show a close race in November regardless of who the nominee is. An Ohio Poll released the week before the primary by the University of Cincinnati said Ohio voters are evenly split if it's a matchup between Obama and McCain.
The same poll said Ohio voters give McCain a slight edge over Clinton if she becomes the nominee.
Many of the counties Clinton cleaned up in were the former southern Ohio stomping grounds of Gov. Ted Strickland, including his home county of Scioto.
Strickland, who in 2006 became the first Democrat elected Ohio governor in 20 years, made sure Clinton knew the importance of taking her campaign outside of the cities.
Democratic strategist Dale Butland said Republicans for years piled up huge margins in the rural and exurban counties to offset Democratic majorities in the cities.
"Ted Strickland employed that strategy himself as a Democrat it served him well in his election," said Butland, who is not working for either Democratic presidential candidate.
"He gave the same advice to Sen. Clinton which she took, unlike Sen. Kerry, who didn't," Butland said.
Kerry, the 2004 Democratic nominee, was also working against heavy turnout that year by conservatives voting to approve the state's gay marriage ban, one of the country's toughest.
Decades have passed since Ohio last saw a competitive Democratic primary, and the interest showed in a record turnout of 48 percent of registered voters.
Clinton still garnered more interest than Kerry in his primary four years ago. Where she won 81 percent of the vote in Scioto County, Kerry got 55 percent in his 2004 primary.
Where she got 80 percent of the vote in Jackson County, Kerry got 64 percent. Where Clinton got 78 percent of the vote in Lawrence County, Kerry got 59 percent.
Clinton's primary strategy is modeled on her New York campaign, where she went to rural areas of the state considered Republican strongholds, said Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson.
"It's the way that we've run this set of primary contests, and it is the way we would certainly run in a general election," he said.