Mississippi Dems’ enthusiasm high

And 2008 is beginning to look a little like ’76 – especially when it comes to Mississippians’ passion in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In Tuesday’s Mississippi primary, they’ll be voting in the close and ferocious contest between the objects of their passion: Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

With 40 delegates at stake, that vote may matter even more, for a change, at the party’s national nominating convention.

Even a Republican stalwart like Hilda Povall sounds a bit envious.

“As November gets closer, I believe there will be much more enthusiasm in the Republican Party,” said Povall, her party’s chairwoman for Bolivar County.

“But, right now, for the Democrats, people seem to be turning out in droves.”

They remain undecided in droves, too. And that’s why Unita Blackwell’s phone keeps ringing.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Blackwell, 74, a longtime civil rights activist who has been to her share of conventions, often as a Mississippi delegate.

Clarion Ledger