- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sen. John McCain tonight won the biggest Republican Super Tuesday states, but weak support from conservatives denied him a decisive victory, while Democrats Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton battled to an effective tie. Mr. McCain won winner-take-all, delegate-rich states in the Northeast, but could not put away his two Republican rivals, former governors who received strong support in the West and South. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee pulled in five southern states and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won five western states. Mr. Obama, of Illinois, won Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Minnesota, North Dakota, Georgia, Alabama, Delaware, Kansas, Utah and his home state of Illinois. An Obama spokesman said they expected the night to result in “a draw.” Mrs. Clinton, of New York, was projected to win Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey and her home state of New York. I look forward to continuing our campaign, Mrs. Clinton told supporters. Mr. McCain declared himself the Republican party frontrunner after winning Illinois, Delaware, Oklahoma, and the winner-take-all states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and his home state of Arizona. The winner-take-all states guaranteed Mr. McCain 233 delegates. But in exit polls, conservative voters showed little support for the Arizona Republican, pulling either for Mr. Huckabee or Mr. Romney. Mr. Huckabee won Tennessee, Alabama, West Virginia, Georgia and his home state of Arkansas. Mr. Romney won North Dakota, Utah, Montana, Minnesota, and his home state of Massachusetts. Key states Missouri, Colorado and California were too close to call. Mr. Huckabee told supporters that his wins had vaulted him ahead of Mr. Romney, into second place. “A lot of people have been trying to say that this is a two man race,” he said. “Well, you know what? It is, and were in it.” Mr. Romney told supporters that he would fight on to the Republican convention at the end of the summer. Mr. Huckabee told supporters that his wins had vaulted him ahead of Mr. Romney, into second place. “A lot of people have been trying to say that this is a two man race,” he said. “Well, you know what? It is, and were in it.” Mr. Romney told supporters that he would fight on to the Republican convention at the end of the summer. The focus now will be on parsing totals for each of the candidates in states where delegates are awarded by the proportion of their victory. Democrats award all their delegates this way, but Republicans have seven winner-take-all states. There are 1,681 delegates at stake today for the Democrats. The candidates need 2,025 to get the nomination. Mrs. Clinton held a 261-to-191 delegate lead prior to today. For the Republicans, there are 1,023 delegates at stake today, and the candidates need 1,191 for the nomination. Mr. McCain led Mr. Romney by 102-93 going into today. Exit polling showed that many of the broad trends in the Democratic and Republican primaries stayed true to form, with Mr. Obama leading among black voters and Mrs. Clinton leading among white women. But Mrs. Clintons edge among female voters was slimmer than it has been in several past contests, according to the Associated Press. Exit polls from Fox News showed Mr. McCain with a 40 percent to 36 percent overall lead over Mr. Romney nationally. Voters also said that the economy was their No. 1 issue, with the Iraq war and health care following behind, according to MSNBC. Both Republican and Democratic candidates finished up their last-minute zigzag across the U.S. and headed for their home states to watch results from more than 20 other states roll in tonight. Weve got 22 states and nobody can keep track of it, Mr. Obama said. Mr. Huckabees West Virginia victory was the result of a deal that came when Mr. McCain’s supporters, who threw their support to Mr. Huckabee to thwart Mr. Romney. The Romney campaign accused Mr. McCain of cutting a “backroom deal with the tax-and-spend candidate he thought could best stop Governor Romney’s campaign of conservative change.” Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, also said he was given three of West Virginias delegates by Mr. Huckabee after throwing him his support. Mr. Huckabee denied a deal and accused Mr. Romney of whining. Top McCain advisor Charlie Black said in an interview that there wasnt a deal. We just threw our support to Huckabee, Mr. Black said by telephone. Mr. Black, looking ahead to expected victories in many of todays states, said that even if Mr. Romney wins delegate-rich California tonight, he will distribute a chart tomorrow showing a huge delegate lead for Mr. McCain. I think we can demonstrate were in a pretty commanding lead, Mr. Black said. Polls opened today at 7 a.m. in many states, and as early as 6 a.m. in some places, and began closing at 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. Eastern. The West Virginia results were the second bad turn for Mr. Romney today. He was hounded for much of the morning by negative comments he made at the beginning of the day about war hero and former presidential candidate Bob Dole.

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