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McCain wins Conn., N.J., Ill. primaries

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/campaign_rdp;_ylt=As71CYbwV3fU4.xUUpPISAOs0NUE McCain wins Conn., N.J., Ill. primaries By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent 13
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 5, 2008

      McCain wins Conn., N.J., Ill. primaries

      By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent 13 minutes ago

      WASHINGTON - Sen. John McCain won primaries in
      Connecticut, New Jersey and Illinois Tuesday night,
      reaching for command of the race for the Republican
      presidential nomination. Barack Obama and Hillary
      Rodham Clinton swapped victories as they waged a
      coast-coast struggle for delegates in the grueling
      Democratic campaign.

      Obama won in Georgia and his home state of Illinois.
      Clinton countered in Oklahoma.

      McCain's leading rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt
      Romney, won a home state victory.

      The Associated Press made its calls based on surveys
      of voters as they left the polls.

      After an early series of low-delegate, single-state
      contests, Super Tuesday was anything but � its
      primaries and caucuses were spread across nearly half
      the country in the most wide-open presidential
      campaign in memory.

      The result was a double-barreled set of races, Obama
      and Clinton fighting for delegates as well as bragging
      rights in individual states, Republicans McCain,
      Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee doing

      Huckabee won the inaugural Super Tuesday event at the
      West Virginia Republican convention, netting 18

      Georgia was Obama's second straight Southern triumph,
      and like an earlier win in South Carolina it was
      powered by black votes.

      African-Americans accounted for slightly more than
      half the ballots cast in Georgia, and he was gaining
      about 90 percent of them. Clinton won nearly 60
      percent of the white votes, a reduced advantage
      compared to her showing in earlier states.

      Democrats awarded their delegates in rough proportion
      to the popular vote.

      Not so Republicans, who held several winner-take-all

      New Jersey and Connecticut were among them, and they
      gave McCain 79 delegates in the two combined �
      leaving his rivals with nothing to show for their
      efforts there.

      Overall, Clinton was winning only a slight edge among
      women and white voters, both groups that she had won
      handily in earlier contests, according to preliminary
      results from interviews with voters in 16 states
      leaving polling places. Obama was collecting the
      overwhelming majority of votes cast by blacks, and
      Clinton was gaining the votes of roughly six in 10

      In the GOP race, McCain had a small edge among voters
      calling themselves Republicans, a group he had not won
      in any of the earlier races. As usual, he was running
      strongly among independents. Gov. Mitt Romney was
      getting the votes of about four in 10 people who
      described themselves as conservative. McCain was
      wining about one-third of that group, and former
      Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee about one in five.

      Democrats and Republicans alike said the economy was
      their most important issue. Democrats said the war in
      Iraq ranked second and health care third. Republican
      primary voters said immigration was second most
      important after the economy, followed by the war in

      The survey was conducted in 16 states by Edison Media
      Research and Mitofsky International for The Associated
      Press and television networks.

      McCain was the Republican front-runner, all but
      unchallenged in winner-take-all primaries in New York,
      New Jersey and Connecticut. He looked for a home-state
      win in Arizona, as well.

      Democrats Obama and Clinton conceded in advance that
      neither was likely to emerge from the busiest day in
      primary history with anything more than a relatively
      narrow edge in convention delegates.

      "Senator Clinton, I think, has to be the prohibitive
      favorite going in given her name recognition, but
      we've been steadily chipping away," said Obama,
      seeking to downplay expectations.

      As she voted in Chappaqua, N.Y., Clinton said, "The
      stakes are huge."

      Her aides conceded in advance that Obama might win
      more Super Tuesday delegates than the former first

      Already, both campaigns were looking ahead to Feb. 9
      contests in Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington state
      and Feb. 12 primaries in Maryland, Virginia and the
      District of Columbia. And increasingly, it looked like
      the Democrats' historic race between a woman and a
      black man would go into early spring, possibly longer.

      Democrats had 1,681 Super Tuesday delegates to
      allocate in primaries in 15 states and caucuses in
      seven more plus American Samoa.

      Clinton led Obama in the delegate chase as the polls
      opened, 261 to 202, on the strength of so-called
      superdelegates. They are members of Congress and other
      party leaders, not chosen by primary voters or
      caucus-goers. It takes 2,025 delegates to win the
      Democratic nomination.

      Republicans had 1,023 delegates at stake in 15
      primaries, six caucuses and one state convention.

      The evening began with McCain holding 102 delegates,
      to 93 for Romney, 43 for Huckabee and four for Paul.
      It takes 1,191 to win the Republican nomination.

      The de facto national primary was the culmination of a
      relentless campaign that moved into overdrive during
      Christmas week.

      After a brief rest for the holiday, the candidates
      flew back to Iowa on Dec. 26 for a final stretch of
      campaigning before the state's caucuses offered the
      first test of the election year. New Hampshire's
      traditional first-in-the-nation primary followed a few
      days later, then a seemingly endless series of
      campaign days interspersed by debates and a handful of
      primaries and caucuses.

      Along the way, the poorest performers dropped out:
      Democratic Sens. Joe Biden and Chris Dodd, New Mexico
      Gov. Bill Richardson and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio;
      and Republican Reps. Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo,
      and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson.

      Former Sen. John Edwards pulled out of the Democratic
      race last week, and former New York Mayor Rudy
      Giuliani left the Republican field.

      Edwards offered no endorsement as he exited, instead
      leaving Obama and Clinton to vie for help from his
      fundraisers and supporters.

      But Obama benefited from an endorsement by Sen. Edward
      M. Kennedy, who made a series of campaign appearances
      in California as well as his home state of

      Giuliani quit the race and backed McCain in the same
      breath, clearing the way for the Westerner in New York
      and New Jersey.

      Giuliani's departure also made it possible for
      California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to back McCain.
      Schwarzenegger said he would not have done so as long
      as the former mayor was in the race.

      Obama and Clinton spent an estimated $20 million
      combined to advertise on television in the Feb 5

      Obama spent $11 million, running ads in 18 of the 22
      states with Democratic contests. Clinton ran ads in
      17, for a total of $9 million.

      Neither advertised in Illinois, Obama's home state.
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