Tuesday's Primaries Produced No Clear Democratic Frontrunner

This story was written by Meredith Simons, Oklahoma Daily
Tuesday's primaries made a winner out of Republican John McCain but failed to clarify the picture for Democratic front-runners Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Experts had predicted that Obama victories in delegate-rich Ohio and Texas would effectively guarantee his nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate. But as of press time, Clinton was projected to win in Ohio with 56 percent of the vote and Texas was too close to call, keeping her in contention for the nomination.

The candidates split Tuesday's smaller primaries; Clinton won in Rhode Island and Obama won in Vermont.

The night's clear winner was John McCain. His victory in Texas guaranteed him the delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination. Before all the votes had been counted in Texas, McCain's Republican challenger, Mike Huckabee, gave his concession speech.

Soon afterward, McCain took the stage and spoke to supporters in Dallas.

"I am very grateful and pleased to note that tonight, my friends, we have won enough delegates to claim with confidence, humility and a great sense of responsibility that I will be the Republican nominee for president of the United States," McCain said.

Tuesday's results leave Democrats still locked in a battle for delegates and momentum, in what has become one of the most drawn-out nomination races in recent memory.

"None of the candidates have been able to land an early knock-out blow," said Nathan Gonzales, editor of The Rothenberg Political Report, a non-partisan analysis of American politics and elections."They all have national campaigns and plenty of money, so losing in one or two states didn't derail any presidential bids."

Gonzales said this primary season has been unique both in its duration and its ability to attract interest and participation from voters.

"Overall there has been an extra amount of attention and importance placed on this election," Gonzales said. "With Iraq, the economy and a wide open race, a lot of people are tuning in and paying attention."

There has been plenty to pay attention to in this race. Obama had been on a roll recently. Between Super Tuesday and March 4, Obama won eight straight primaries and major media outlets began calling Clinton an underdog.

"Sen. Clinton doesn't have a math problem, not being far behind Obama," Gonzales said before Tuesday's primaries. "She has a problem with how things are in the story line. Barack Obama is perceived to be the frontrunner with the momentum."

But with Clinton's victory in Ohio and the delegates she gained in Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont, she appears to be rewriting the story line.
© 2008 Oklahoma Daily via U-WIRE