Clinton Wins Close Battle In Texas
Ohio, Texas, Vermont, Rhode Island Voters Speak
UPDATED: 11:06 pm MST March 4, 2008
Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama dueled
late into the night in the Texas Democratic primary
after each claimed victories earlier in other states
and Sen. John McCain clinched the Republican
presidential nomination. Clinton was projected the
winner of the Texas primary late Tuesday night.
Clinton claimed victory in Ohio and Rhode Island,
Obama won in Vermont, while McCain was projected to
win those three states and Texas.
Clinton, who had been beaten by Obama in 11 straight
contests before Tuesday, was greeted by raucus
supporters at a rally in Ohio.
"We're going strong and we're going all the way," she
said to supporters as confetti rained down. She told
the crowd her performance was a victory for everyone
who's been "counted out but refused to be knocked
Despite the turn of fortune, Clinton still has an
uphill fight to overcome Obama's lead in delegates.
Speaking to supporters in San Antonio, Texas, Obama
congratulated Clinton on her victory, but predicted he
would ultimately be the Democratic nominee.
"We have nearly the same delegate lead as we did this
morning and we are on our way to winning this
nomination," he said.
For McCain, it was an extraordinary comeback for a
candidate whose White House hopes were dashed eight
years ago and whose second bid was left for dead eight
According to The Associated Press count, the four-term
Arizona senator surpassed the requisite 1,191 GOP
delegates as voters in Ohio, Vermont, Rhode Island and
Texas put him over the threshold.
The triumph came one month after his Super Tuesday
coast-to-coast victories gave him an insurmountable
lead in the delegate hunt and forced his chief rival,
Mitt Romney, to drop out of the race.
"It's a very humbling experience," he said of finally
clinching the nomination in an AP interview.
"The big battle's to come," he said of the general
election. "I do not underestimate the significance nor
the size of the challenge."
McCain planned a White House meeting Wednesday with
President George W. Bush, the man who defeated him in
His sole major remaining rival, former Arkansas Gov.
Mike Huckabee, had 257 delegates dropped out of the
race Tuesday night, calling McCain an honorable man
and pledging to support McCains campaign for the
It was McCain's second run at the nomination, after
his loss to George W. Bush in 2000. The Arizona
senator was the early front-runner in the GOP race
this time, but his campaign nearly imploded last
summer. He regrouped, reassuming the underdog role
that he relishes, and methodically dispatched one
rival after another in a string of primaries in
January and early February.
The Associated Press made its calls based on surveys
of voters as they left the polls.
Obama Leads Democrats In Delegates
After 11 straight victories Obama had the momentum and
the lead in the delegate chase going into Tuesday's
elections in The Associated Press count, 1,389-1,276.
His margin was larger -- 1,187-1,035 -- among pledged
delegates chosen in primaries and caucuses. The former
first lady had an advantage among superdelegates, but
Obama picked up three during the day, narrowing her
advantage to 241-202.
That left Clinton in desperate need of a comeback.
With her wins in Ohio and Rhode Island, she may have
achieved that goal.
Some of her supporters, her husband the former
president among them, said she needed to outpoll Obama
in both Texas and Ohio to sustain her candidacy.
Without conceding anything, Obama's allies said even
that wouldn't be enough, given his lead in the
delegate count and party rules that virtually assure
primary losers a significant share of the spoils.
Nevertheless in appearances earlier Tuesday in Texas,
Clinton sounded like she might continue her campaign
if she won only Ohio, and Obama sounded almost
resigned to an extension of the nomination battle.
"You don't get to the White House as a Democrat
without winning Ohio," Clinton said in Houston.
Poll Glitches Reported
The Ohio secretary of state's office said Obama's
campaign has filed a federal lawsuit to get a voting
extension in Franklin and Cuyahoga counties, alleging
a shortage of ballots.
Heavy rain, sleet and ice forced at least 10 Ohio
precincts to request permission to move, and a few
polling spots were running on generators because of
An ice storm struck Cleveland during rush hour,
prompting non-profit groups to stop roving election
monitors. "It is treacherous out there now. It's just
too dangerous for them to drive around," said Candice
Hoke, director of Cleveland State University's Center
for Election Integrity.
Polls across all four states reported heavy turnout
Tuesday, with lines forming in some places before
dawn. Things appeared calm, except for sporadic
glitches in Ohio.
Earlier Tuesday, volunteer election monitors in
Cuyahoga County reported shortages of poll workers in
some precincts and nonfunctioning touch-screen
machines set aside for disabled voters.
In Texas, the Obama and Clinton campaigns sniped at
each other over allegations of caucus violations,
prompting the Democratic party to issue a stern
reprimand ordering both campaigns to follow the
often-quirky rules of Texas precinct caucuses.
Both camps claimed staffers were signing up caucus
member before the polls close, which is prohibited.
Voting advocates said Texas' hybrid system of precinct
caucuses and private ballots could also delay tallies.
Under an arcane set of rules, precinct caucuses, which
decide 30 percent of delegates, cannot be held until
the polls close at 7 p.m. Anyone in line at that point
must be allowed to cast a ballot, however, meaning
possible delays. Final results may not be known until
Exit Polls Detailed
Hispanics, a group that has favored Clinton in earlier
primaries, cast nearly one-third of the Election Day
votes in Texas, up from about one quarter of the
ballots four years ago, according to interviews with
voters as they left their polling places. Blacks, who
have voted heavily for Obama this year, accounted for
roughly 20 percent of the votes cast, roughly the same
as four years ago.
The economy was the No. 1 concern on the minds of
Democratic voters in Texas, Rhode Island and
especially in Ohio. But in Vermont, almost as many
voters said the war in Iraq was their top concern.
More than three-quarters of Ohio Democrats said
international trade had cost their state more jobs
than it had created. The interviews did not take into
account early voting, which was heavy in Texas and in
parts of Ohio.
Roughly six in 10 of the Democrats who were questioned
said that so-called superdelegates, who are party
officials, should vote at the national convention
based on the results of primaries and caucuses. That
was unwelcome news for Clinton, who trails Obama among
delegates picked in the states but holds a lead among
It takes 2,025 delegates to win the Democratic
nomination, and slightly more than 600 remained to be
picked in the 10 states that vote after Tuesday.