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Irvin stumps for Clinton
Hillary a hard sell in Hall
0203Hillary
Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin speaks Saturday during a rally for Sen. Hillary Clinton at the Hunt Tower in Gainesville. - photo by Robin Michener Nathan

Hillary Clinton may not win the primary battle in Georgia this Tuesday, but she could win the war come November.

That was the message from Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin as he addressed a sparse turnout of Clinton supporters Saturday at the Hunt Tower in downtown Gainesville. Irvin, Georgia’s longest-serving statewide elected official, is campaigning for the Democratic senator from New York as at least two polls show her primary opponent, Barack Obama, with a double-digit lead in Georgia.

A poll from Public Policy Polling had Clinton trailing Obama, 41 percent to 51 percent, while Insider Advantage showed Obama with a much larger margin, 52 percent to 36 percent. Both polls were taken Wednesday.

"I’m not naive," Irvin said. "Georgia’s going to be a hard take. We may not win the most votes in the election this coming week, but I think whether we do or not, we’ve got a good chance if we work hard of winning in November. Because I don’t think there’s any doubt that she’s going to be nominated as our candidate for president of the United States."

Only about a dozen people showed up at Saturday’s event, held in a county that is heavily Republican. Several active members of the Hall Democratic party were absent.

Gainesville attorney Joe Diaz, a local leader for the Clinton campaign, said Saturday’s low turnout could be blamed on scheduling confusion. The event was in doubt after the originally scheduled speaker, former presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark, was unable to appear.

"Really, it was spread by word of mouth more than anything," Diaz said.

Diaz doesn’t think an Obama primary victory in Georgia is a given. He points to several well-attended rallies in Georgia this week featuring either Hillary Clinton or former President Bill Clinton, including the Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner held Wednesday in Atlanta.

"They say (Obama’s) got a lead and we’ll see," Diaz said. "I think Sen. Clinton made a lot of headway here this week. It seems (Obama’s) taken the state a little bit for granted by not showing up at the Democratic event on Wednesday. We’ll just have to see how it plays out."

Those who did attend Saturday’s gathering are firmly behind Clinton.

"We certainly think she’s the best qualified for the job," said Dwight Kilby, a Flowery Branch surveyor. "We do believe she’s absolutely the smartest candidate running. And we know she has a track record, and so does her husband, so we know what we’re getting with the Clintons, and we think it’s going to be good for our country."

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