Opinion » Columnists
Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Obama Sweeps Feb. 9 Contests

It was an early and complete sweep for Senator Barack Obama in Saturday‘s primaries. Not only were they victories, they were big victories. In Nebraska, Senator Obama received 68% of the vote with 18 delegates. Clinton received 32% of the vote (8 delegates). Louisiana projected Obama the victor after only 46% of the vote was counted, such was the momentum in the count, with Obama getting 57% (23 delegates) to Clinton’s 36% (15 delegates).

Even though Washington is in the far west, results came in early with Obama being declared the winner with 94% of the precincts reporting that Obama received 68% (38 delegates) to Clinton’s 31% (19 delegates). Obama also won in the Virgin Islands with 92% of the vote yielding 3 delegates.

On the Republican side, Huckabee won Kansas with 60%, sweeping all 36 delegates, and with 100% reporting, 24% went for a disappointed McCain. At this time, the Washington contest is running neck-and-neck between McCain (26) and Huckabee(24) with no clear winner as of yet. Ron Paul registered 21%. After running neck-and-neck in Louisiana, Huckabee was projected to be the winner, nudging his rival out by only a percentage point (43/42). Mr. Huckabee, a pastor before he became governor of Arkansas, said: “I didn’t major in math. I majored in miracles, and I still believe in them, too.”

Tally total on the delegate count stands at Clinton 1,100 and Obama 1,039. Mr. McCain has 714 delegates so far, Mr. Huckabee, 217, and former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, 16.

“Super Tuesday” had been predicted as the finish line in the race for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations. Commentators who had made these predictions openly admit they are surprised and flabbergasted. Most of the candidates had reasons for smiles on their faces at the conclusion of Super Tuesday. John McCain managed to cement his status as the GOP front runner. However, Mitt Romney (R) announced his withdrawal from the race.

Clinton advisers are sounding especially grim about the upcoming February contests, noting Mr. Obama’s advantage with black voters in Maryland and Virginia and with liberals and young voters in Wisconsin. They were instead budgeting and planning for the March 4 primaries in Ohio and Texas, when nearly 400 delegates will be at stake.

One Clinton adviser explained, “There’s a chance we may not win a single primary or caucus in February, so we’re banking on Ohio and Texas.” Mrs. Clinton said she was willing to put her wealth on the line, placing her own finances in campaign coffers.

Obama was pleasantly surprised to pick up the endorsement of Washington's governor, Christine Gregoire, going into the Washington State primary. All of his appearances are generating larger and larger record crowds. He is finding his base of support expanding to include white men as well.

With the fight for the nomination broadening beyond Super Tuesday, voters in a fresh batch of states have suddenly found themselves in the middle of the most competitive primary in a generation, after years of voting after a nominee was already established. Sunday’s contest in Maine appeared to be one February post-Super Tuesday state where Mrs. Clinton might be somewhat competitive with Senator Obama, and although there have been no polls, the demographics may be in her favor. Maine will award 24 delegates. Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia and voting by Americans overseas are next, on Tuesday, with 175 combined. Then there will be a brief intermission, followed by a string of election nights in March.

Senator Obama was campaigning in Maine, holding a round table discussion focusing on the economy, health-care costs and college tuition with four middle class voters, at least three of whom make less than $44,000. Afterward, he appeared before 10,000 people for a thunderous gathering at Bangor Auditorium. Over 7,000 people were packed to the rafters and about another 3,000 others constituted an overflow crowd outside, according to official estimates.

Lisa KARPOVA

PRAVDA.Ru

USA/CANADA