Wisconsin, Hawaii and Washington states went to bat yesterday in the latest string of presidential primaries.
Predictably, John McCain swept the vote for Republicans with 55% in Wisconsin while Mike Huckabee, gaining a significant 37%, said he will continue on to Texas, according to Fox News. Huckabee said he will continue until the nomination is locked up with the required 1191 delegates. McCain’s wide lead totals 918 to Huckabee’s 217.
McCain won moderates by a landslide but also captured 39% of “very conservative” voters. Though evangelicals still overwhelmingly side with Huckabee, McCain’s lead is essentially impossible to overcome.
On the Democrat side, Barack Obama won his tenth primary in a row with 54% against rival Hillary Clinton’s 45% in Wisconsin and in his native Hawaii, 76% to 24%. He was also the projected winner in Washington. Obama’s unlikely lead in the past month has boosted support nationwide among almost every demographic, according to polls. The string of wins brings Obama’s delegate count to 1,301, giving him only a slight lead over Clinton, who maintains about 1,239 committed delegates.
Though Clinton has raised the most money overall in the campaign, Obama raised more in each individual primary state last night, according to a CNN campaign map. The map reported that so far this presidential race, Democrat and Republican candidates combined have raised $568,713,465.
With strong celebrity support and claims to bipartisan support, Obama’s latest wins may sling shot him to a Democratic nomination once considered implausible. Yesterday’s victories were more than numerical — as Obama easily took the youth vote and stole Clinton’s typical crowds of women, independents and the less educated, according to an ABC.com exit poll analysis.
Clinton has said Texas is her fallback state but her momentum is stunted by these consistent losses. Yesterday, articles like “How Hillary Can Still Win” littered the Internet, but the sentiment is lingering.
In his Wisconsin victory speech from Texas, Obama echoed his infamous “Yes We Can” speech — first given after his New Hampshire victory, and told the audience “we will need your help…to change America over the next four years.”
In a long speech — about forty-five minutes — Obama relied on his mantra of “change,” throughout his speech from a stage in Houston, Texas, where he prepares for the March 4 primary.
To a crowd chanting “Yes we can!”, Obama channeled Martin Luther King, Jr., quoting his call to the “fierce urgency of now.”
“We have to get beyond the division…black, white, Asian, young, old, Republican, Democrat,” said Obama, adding that “there is such a thing as being too late” and “the hour is upon us.”
From his victory stage, McCain proclaimed, “I will be our Party’s nominee for President of the United states.” He applauded the efforts of Huckabee, saying his “admire[s]” him “very much.”
“Now comes the hard part and for America, the bigger decision,” said McCain, lauding the resolve to “restore the nation’s trust in our government…[and] lead with wisdom.” He applauded American soldiers, “for whom no challenge is greater than their resolve, courage and patriotism.”
In his speech, McCain targeted Obama — now his most likely opponent in the general election — saying that he will be sure Americans are “not deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change.” McCain’s wife, Cindy, jumped into the battle yesterday as well, saying “I have, and always will be, proud of my country” — countering comments of Michelle Obama, wife of Barack Obama. Michelle Obama surprised many earlier this week when she said she was proud of her country for “the first time in my adult life.”
While Obama and McCain appear to be revving up for one on one battle, Clinton’s campaign travels on. She didn’t mention the losses in her speech last night but reminded voters that she has “been through the Republican attack machine” and can “take a punch and come back.”
Texas and Ohio are up next and may prove decisive among the Democratic candidates. If Clinton has any chance, she must win these states.