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Clinton wins in Puerto Rico, CNN projects

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/01/puerto.rico/index.html Clinton wins in Puerto Rico, CNN projects SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (CNN) -- Sen. Hillary Clinton
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2008

      Clinton wins in Puerto Rico, CNN projects

      SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (CNN) -- Sen. Hillary Clinton
      will win Puerto Rico's Democratic primary by a wide
      margin, CNN projects, giving her the larger share of
      the territory's 55 delegates.

      As polls closed, it was too early to determine the
      exact margin of victory.

      Clinton's campaign has been arguing that a landslide
      victory would push her ahead in the popular vote and
      help her convince superdelegates to pick her instead
      of Sen. Barack Obama.

      To cross that threshold, she would need to win 65
      percent of the vote with a turnout of at least 2
      million people.

      But Luis Hector, an elections official, said only 1.5
      million ballots were printed and predicted turnout
      could be as low as 500,000 voters.

      "Most people in Puerto Rico, I would venture to guess,
      they are not even aware that there's a primary going
      on," said Luis Pabón-Roca, a local political analyst.

      He said the political atmosphere on the island this
      week is subdued compared to the fever that sweeps the
      island before local elections.

      Part of the reason for the lack of interest, he said,
      is because voters feel the primary isn't meaningful,
      since Puerto Ricans cannot vote in the general

      The Democratic and Republican parties run the
      primaries and caucuses, and they allow U.S.
      territories, such as the commonwealth of Puerto Rico,
      to take part in the process.

      But only the 50 states and the District of Columbia
      vote in the general election.

      A group of demonstrators gathered at a polling
      location Sunday to protest the idea that the island
      territory would participate in a mainland vote.

      The issue of statehood appears to be dividing
      supporters of Clinton and Obama, according to CNN's
      exclusive exit polls.

      Neither candidate has taken a direct position on the
      issue, though Puerto Rico's former governor, who has
      advocated statehood, supports Clinton.

      Among Clinton supporters, 72 percent want Puerto Rico
      to be a U.S. state, 23 percent want it to remain a
      commonwealth, and 2 percent want it to be an
      independent country.

      But among Obama supporters, 57 percent want Puerto
      Rico to stay a commonwealth while only 34 percent want
      statehood. Eight percent want it to be an independent

      The primary season ends Tuesday when voters in Montana
      and South Dakota weigh in in the lengthy nomination
      battle. Those states have a combined 31 delegates up
      for grabs.

      Obama campaign spokesman Robert Gibbs said he expects
      Obama to clinch the nomination in the coming days.

      "If not Tuesday, I think it will be fairly soon," he
      said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

      "We hope this week, absolutely," he added.

      Going into Sunday's contests, Obama leads in the
      overall delegate count -- 2,051 to Clinton's 1,877.

      Clinton gained some ground Saturday following the
      Democratic National Committee's decision to seat the
      delegations from Florida and Michigan.

      The DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee reinstated all of
      Florida and Michigan's delegates to the national
      convention, with each state getting a half-vote to
      penalize them for holding their primaries earlier than
      party rules allowed.

      The DNC panel's move gave Clinton 87 delegates and
      Obama 63.

      Clinton has been campaigning hard in Puerto Rico, with
      both husband Bill and daughter Chelsea making the

      "Chelsea and I and Hillary have now been to 42 of
      Puerto Rico's municipalities campaigning for the votes
      of the people of Puerto Rico," former President
      Clinton said Thursday.

      "She represents more Puerto Ricans than anyone in the
      world except someone who is elected here. Send the
      message back to the mainland on Sunday that Puerto
      Rico deserves to be considered and its potential is
      unlimited if only you had a genuine partner in the
      White House."

      The senator's popularity on the island caught the
      attention of one of the island's most famous pop stars

      Ricky Martin endorsed Clinton for the Democratic
      nomination, saying, "Whether fighting for better
      education, universal health care and social
      well-being, as first lady and senator from New York --
      representing millions of Latinos -- she has always
      fought for what is most important for our families."

      Obama briefly campaigned last weekend in Puerto Rico.
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