Kerry sweeps five states

Democratic US presidential fr

Last Modified: 04 Feb 2004 06:58 GMT
Kerry: You can't cherry-pick the presidency.

Democratic US presidential front-runner John Kerry has scored a victory in five states while rivals John Edwards and Wesley Clark kept their candidacies alive with singular triumphs.

Edwards easily won his native South Carolina in Tuesday's primary and Clark, a retired Army general and former NATO commander from Arkansas, triumphed in neighbouring Oklahoma.

Howard Dean earned no wins and perhaps no delegates, his candidacy in peril. Joseph Lieberman was shut out and dropped out of the race to pick a candidate to challenge US President George Bush.

Racking up victories in Missouri, Arizona, North Dakota, New Mexico and Delaware, Kerry suggested that his rivals were regional candidates.

"I compliment John Edwards, but I think you have to run a national campaign, and I think that's what we've shown tonight," the four-term Massachusetts senator said. "You can't cherry-pick the presidency."

With Iowa and New Hampshire already in the bag, Kerry boasts a record of 7-2 in primary season contests, the undisputed front-runner. 

Delegates allocated

A Democratic candidate to run against Bush in November elections will be chosen at the party's national convention this summer by delegates largely allocated in votes around the country in coming months.

"I don't care who wins...  I'd get my dog to run. I'm not kidding. I would get Mickey Mouse in there. Anybody but Bush" 

Tucson, Arizona

An Associated Press analysis showed Kerry winning 65 pledged delegates, Edwards 43, Clark five and Al Sharpton one, with 155 yet to be allocated. Kerry's wins in Missouri and Arizona were the night's biggest prizes, with 129 delegates - nearly half of the 269 at stake.

Tuesday's results pushed Kerry close to 200 delegates out of 2162 needed for the nomination, including the so-called super-delegates of lawmakers and party traditionalists. Dean trailed by nearly 70, Edwards by nearly 100.

Democrats award delegates based on a candidates showing in congressional districts, giving Kerry's rivals a chance to grab a few delegates even in contests they lost.

Beating Bush

In nearly every area of the nation, the most diverse group of Democrats yet to cast votes this primary season said they had a singular priority: defeat Bush this fall.

African-American community in 
South Carolina account for 30%
of voters

"I don't care who wins" the Democratic primary, said Judy Donovan of Tucson, Arizona. "I'd get my dog to run. I'm not kidding. I would get Mickey Mouse in there. Anybody but Bush."

In state after state, exit polls showed Kerry dominated among voters who want a candidate with experience or who could beat Bush. 

Dean saved his money for a last stand in Wisconsin on 17 February, a long-shot strategy that some of his own advisers questioned. He ran no television advertisements in the seven states and intended to stay off the air until the Wisconsin vote. 

"We're going to have a tough night," Dean told supporters as he promised to keep "going and going and going and going - just like the Energizer bunny."

But Steve Murphy, who ran Representative Dick Gephardt's campaign, said: "Howard Dean is done."

Kerry, who just six weeks ago was written off as a candidate, reshaped the race with victories in Iowa and New Hampshire while Dean's candidacy faltered. 

The race turns next to Michigan and Washington state, with a combined delegate total of 204.

Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
Growing poverty is strengthening a trend among UK Muslims to fund charitable work closer to home.
join our mailing list