While Sen. Barack Obama seemed to clearly defeat Sen. Hillary Clinton at the Washington caucuses Saturday, the race was less clear for the Republican contenders.
Obama received 68 percent of the Washington vote while Clinton received 31 percent. Sen. John McCain, who earned 26 percent, narrowly defeated Mike Huckabee, 24 percent, in a race that was too close to call until Sunday morning. Huckabee was challenging the the caucus results as of Sunday evening.
Combined with the results from the other caucuses, Obama made significant ground on Clinton bringing their delegate totals to 1,121 and 1,148 respectively. McCain possesses a lead over Huckabee with a delegate count of 723 to 217.
Locally, Obama took 62 percent of the vote in Spokane County and 78 percent of the vote in Whitman County with Clinton taking 37 percent and 20 percent, respectively. According to The Associated Press, the Republican party was not planning to release a county-by-county breakdown of as of Sunday evening.
The results and turnout left student groups at Washington State University pleased. "I was absolutely thrilled," Young Democrats President Nicole Tyo said. "I was really impressed with the turnout. Many students chose to caucus instead of attending the basketball game." Tyo said the Young Democrats will continue aiding the group WSU Students for Barack Obama as well as working on their spring trip. Because the Democratic primaries are not tied to any delegation distribution, the Young Democrats will likely not be doing anything specific.
While the Republican caucus was a tighter race, the College Republicans were pleased with the results. "The race was very surprising; I thought there would be much more support for Senator McCain," College Republican Chris Del Beccaro said. "Although we can't officially support any specific candidate, most of us personally support Senator McCain. There was a really good turnout, too." The College Republicans will begin preparing for the Republican primary on Feb. 19, when the rest of the Republican delegates will be chosen, as well as working on the upcoming county convention. The final report on delegate percentages from Saturday is expected Monday, according to the Washington State Republican Party website.
The WSU Students for Barack Obama were also extremely pleased with the results and turnout from Saturday.
"I wasn't surprised that we took Washington; however, I wasn't expecting the margin of victory to be that large," group co-founder Katarina Petursson said. "There was a huge turnout -- we didn't have enough seats at my caucus. There were lots of students. I was very pleased."
The group also had some of its students elected as delegates to go on to the county convention. "We're going to be fundraising for our student delegates as they continue this process," Petursson said. "We're going to speak with the Whitman Country Democrats to try and work together to get at least one WSU student to the National Convention."
While the group is pleased, they know that the work has hopefully just begun.
"We're going to work to help other caucuses and keep phone banking," group co-founder Alex McDonald said. "We're just gonna keep working and hopefully he'll get the nomination. After that, we'll work to get him the presidency."
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