Obama sweeps Potomac primaries, takes delegate lead

February 12, 2008 9:07:54 PM PST
Senator Barack Obama won primaries in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia Tuesday. He now has eight consecutive wins.

For the Republicans, John McCain won all three primaries as well. In Virginia, his win was surprisingly close.

McCain breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday night after holding off the evangelical conservative Mike Huckabee to sweep the primaries and virtually sweep up the Republican nomination.

On the Democratic side, Obama continues his roll. What makes his sweep sweeter is that he is finally winning the votes of women and blue collar men who, up to now, have been supporting Hillary Clinton. He is moving on to the next battle ground, the state of Wisconsin, and a giant nighttime rally in the capital of Madison.

"We won the state of Maryland. We won the commonwealth of Virginia. And though we won in Washington, D.C., this movement won't stop until there's change in Washington, D.C. And tonight we are on our way," Obama told a cheering university crowd.

Clinton is obviously not giving up, as she moves on to one of the last stands of her campaign, the state of Texas, where she has no choice but to rebound big-time in March on the backs of Latino voters in cities like El Paso.

"And we are going to sweep across Texas in the next three weeks, bringing our message about what we need in America, the kind of president that will be required, on day one, to be commander in chief, to turn the economy around. I'm tested. I'm ready. Let's make it happen," she told the crowd.

On the Republican side, Huckabee's evangelical supporters came up a bit short, but only slightly, sending McCain a message, but failing to derail him.

"We've come a long way in this campaign," said McCain. "We have had our ups and downs. But as luck, that product of opportunity and industry would have it, we are approaching the end of the first half of the election on quite an upswing."

"Nobody has the 1,191 delegates. Therefore, it would be premature to quit before the game has come to a conclusion," said Huckabee.

And it virtually has concluded because under the winner-take-all rules of the Republican primary process, it is almost impossible for Huckabee to stop McCain, while on the Democrat side, Clinton still has a good chance to catch Obama, but only if she can win two of the three big states remaining in March and April: Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania.

If Obama can pull in some Latinos, in part because Clinton lost her Latina campaign manager, he could be going to Washington.

In terms of delegates, McCain widens his lead over Huckabee. On the Democratic side, it is a virtual tie. Obama led Clinton by 17, with 1208 to 1191 for the Democrats. The magic nomination number is 2,025.