Clinton wins S.C. straw poll By LEE BANDY Staff Writer Richland County Democrats held the nations first straw poll for the 2008 presidential race Wednesday and the surprise winner was U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York. Were simply delighted, said Bob Kunst, president of Hillarynow.com, who is traveling the country promoting Clintons candidacy. This should help us in our effort. It gives us a nice boost. Clintons victory at the sparesely attended event was a mild upset. Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, a native South Carolinian and last years Democratic vice presidential candidate, had been considered the favorite. Clinton got 44 votes to 34 for Edwards. Virginia Gov. John Warner came in third with 32 votes and U.S. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware got 24 votes. Everyone else scored in the single digits. The straw poll was conducted by the Democratic Party of Richland County, the most Democratic county in South Carolina and the states second-most populous. Clintons supporters worked hard to get their voters to the county partys event. Earlier in the day, Kunst promoted Clinton for president at a State House news conference and introduced the beginning of an organized effort here. Margaret Ann Palmer, a retired state government worker from Columbia, is state director of Hillarynow.com. Backers hoisted homemade signs, saying, Hillary Cleaning Up Bushs Mess and Hillary Is the Answer. Kunst, based in Miami Beach, said Clintons political advisers are aware of his push but stop short of saying it has her blessings. Clintons Washington office said Kunst is operating on his own, without any input from the senator. Kunst traveled to 100 cities and conducted more than 510 news interviews between August 2003 and November 2004. Kunst came here from the Bonneroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tenn., attended by some 90,000 people. There, he promoted Clinton with flyers, buttons and bumper stickers. He worked Main Street most of the afternoon, trying to recruit supporters and to get them to attend the straw poll held in the office parking lot of Columbia attorney Joe McCulloch. There, there was music, drinks, light food and politics and retired U.S Sen. Fritz Hollings, who also spoke. Kunst said Clinton is the strongest Democrat, and if she stops playing centrist and becomes the leader she is capable of being, she will be the first woman president in U.S history with enormous international implications. http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/local/11905946.htm --- I hear her next opponents will be Al Sharpton, Farrah Fawcett and Mr. T. I predict the margin of victory will be less than SC.