Obama, McKinney, McCain Score in Potomac Primaries

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With additional reporting by Matthew Cardinale.

(APN) ATLANTA — Green candidate, former US Rep. Cynthia McKinney, and US Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ) scored wins Tuesday, February 12, 2008, in the Potomac Primary Elections for President of the United States, in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

McKinney won in Washington, DC, with 41% of the vote, compared to Howie Haskins, an unofficial stand-in for Ralph Nader, who got 7% of the vote; and Green candidates Jared Ball, Kat Swift, Jesse Johnson, and Kent Mesplay received 4% of the vote or less each, according to the DC Board of Elections and Ethics. Mr. Ball had previously dropped out and endorsed McKinney.

There were also 27% write-in votes that have not yet been counted; however, the Green Party’s national spokesman, Scott McLarty, confirmed even if they were all for Ralph Nader, it would not be enough for Mr. Nader to win the District, even if combined with the Haskins votes.

“That’s not a surprise. We had an idea she would do well here. She had talked about using the Green Party to build a Black-Brown coalition, and of course DC is a majority African American city and that meant something quite important to people here. She was already somewhat popular here long before she decided to go Green,” McLarty said.

McKinney previously won in Arkansas and Illinois, while she lost in California to Nader, who has not announced his candidacy. Massachusetts, the only other state with a Green Primary, has not yet released its results, though the race there is close between McKinney and Nader. Other states will hold informal conventions to make their selections in the coming weeks.

Obama’s Democratic victories come on the heels of wins in Louisiana’s Primary plus Caucuses in Washington state and Nebraska on the Saturday just days before. He added Maine to the list on Sunday, leaving Democratic challenger, US Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), looking for her first win since Super Tuesday.

Obama spoke to supporters in Madison, Wisconsin, where voters will cast ballots next week.

“We won the state of Maryland. We won the Commonwealth of Virginia. And though we won in Washington D.C., this movement won’t stop until there is change in Washington D.C. and tonight we’re on our way,” he said.

Obama took the delegate lead for the first time against Clinton and took time to target McCain. “We honor his service but his priorities don’t address the real problems of the American people because they are bound to the failed policies of the past,” he said.

“Senator McCain said the other day that we might be mired in Iraq for 100 years… which is reason not to give him four years in the White House,” Obama added.

McCain, who won Republican Caucuses in Washington State on Saturday, widened his lead Tuesday after he shut out former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AK). McCain took shots at Obama and Clinton when he spoke to supporters in Alexandria, Virginia.

“They’ll promise to break with the failed politics of the past, but will campaign in ways that seek to minimize their exposure to questions from the press and challenges from voters who ask more from their leaders than an empty promise of ‘trust me I know better,'” he said.

“We will offer different ideas based on a better understanding of the challenges we face and the resolve to confront them with the resolve and confidence and strength and ideals of free people,” McCain added.

Clinton downplayed Tuesday’s results and began looking ahead when she spoke to supporters in El Paso, Texas, a key March 4 Primary State.

“I can’t think of any better place to start our campaign for Texas than right here in El Paso,” she said.

Clinton is focusing her campaign heavily on winning in Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, three delegate-rich states she needs to win in order to keep Obama from the nomination.

“We’re going to sweep across Texas in the next three weeks, bringing our message about what we need in America, the kind of President that will be required on day one to be Commander-in-Chief, to turn the economy around,” Clinton said. “I’m tested. I’m ready. Let’s make it happen.”

The Clinton Campaign went through a shake up after a string of disappointments over the weekend. Campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle and deputy campaign manager Mike Henry resigned.

Meanwhile, Huckabee continues to stay in the race for the Republican nomination after Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked Huckabee to drop out.

Yet, Huckabee scored surprising wins over McCain in Louisiana and Kansas on Saturday. He said Tuesday that McCain still does not have the delegates needed to secure the nomination and added that he would stay in the race until there is a nominee.

McCain has 812 delegates to Huckabee’s 217. The eventual Republican nominee needs 1,191 delegates to win. All McCain has to do to get there is keep winning.

Obama leads Clinton in delegates for the first time since Iowa. He has 1,208 delegates to her 1,185. The eventual Democratic nominee needs 2,025 delegates to win.

While Obama leads in pledged delegates, Clinton leads in superdelegates. If neither candidate is able to secure enough delegates before the Democratic National Convention, superdelegates could play a huge role in deciding the nominee.

Meanwhile, the Clinton Campaign is arguing that Florida and Michigan should have their delegates restored by the Democratic National Committee, who voted to take away their delegates because the states held their election contests too early.

Candidates now head to February 19, 2008, when Wisconsin and Washington State will hold Primaries and Hawaii will hold Democratic Caucuses.

Clinton is hoping to turn around her fortunes by winning Texas and Ohio on March 4, 2008. Rhode Island and Vermont will hold Primaries the same day.

About the author:

Jonathan Springston is a Senior Staff Writer for Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at jonathan@atlantaprogressivenews.com.

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