Obama, McCain Take Leads In Mid-Atlantic

This story was written by Dalia Mortada, Cavalier Daily
Election buzz permeated Grounds of the University of Virginia Tuesday as Virginians cast their votes in the Republican and Democratic primaries.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama swept the Potomac Primaries, defeating opponent Hillary Clinton in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Republican candidates John McCain and Mike Huckabee had a closer race, but according to CNN, McCain was the projected winner in all three primaries.

"It's a blow-out for Barack Obama, he's winning 90 percent of the African-American vote and half of the white vote," Politics Prof. Larry Sabato said "He's doing well in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, the college communities and most of all the central cities, and that's more than enough to win big in the Democratic primary."

Fourth-year College student Adam Keith, president of Hoos for Obama, said his group was enthused by the news.

"I think this looks good for us," Keith said. "Virginia is a very diverse and representative state; the fact that he's doing well here means that he can appeal to all segments of the American electorate."

The race between Clinton and Obama, however, is not over yet, according to Sabato.

"This race has seesawed back and forth, and it's important to let it play out," Sabato noted. "We'll have a much better idea [who the Democratic candidate will be] on March 4, when Texas and Ohio vote."

Fourth-year College student Sophia Brumby, coordinator of Hoos for Hillary, said the primary results did not come as a surprise.

"I don't think that Hillary put in a lot of resources into the primaries today; she's been focusing on Ohio and Texas and on Wisconsin next week," Brumby said. "The demographics in those states are far more in favor for her than in the states that voted today."

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, McCain and Huckabee engaged one another in what some found to be an unexpectedly close race.

"Clearly McCain has not done nearly as well as his own people expected him to do," Sabato said. "This is just another indication to say that he's in deep trouble with the conservatives in his party -- it really is a disaster for him."

Despite the closeness of the race, third-year Law student Brendan Dignan, organizer for Hoos for McCain, said he was still excited about McCain's wins last night.

"McCain has the support of a good number of conservatives," Dignan said. "He is a pragmatic consensus builder with a 20-year history of conservative leadership in the Senate."

Those supporting specific candidates were not the only students who were politically active Tuesday. Michael Feuerstein, second-year College student and communications coordinator for University Democrats, said his organization reached out to the community and encouraged students to vote.

According to a City of Charlottesville press release, 29.87 percent -- or 598 -- of the 2,002 voters registered at Alumni Hall voted Tuesday.
© 2008 Cavalier Daily via U-WIRE