Arizona Senator John McCain contemplated the future of his campaign today after suffering a Super Tuesday blowout, while George W. Bush turned his focus to Vice President Al Gore, labeling him an agent of Washington.
A senior McCain aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he expects McCain to depart the GOP contest, but cautioned that no firm decision has been made. McCain is to assess his future at his Arizona retreat.
Bill Bradley says he’ll make his future plans known in a few days. The Democrat has retreated to his Montclair, New Jersey home to consider the future of his presidential bid against Al Gore. The Vice President took a clean sweep over Bradley on Super Tuesday, winning all fifteen Democratic contests. He even won New York, where Bradley played pro basketball with the Knicks, and Missouri, where Bradley was born. Bradley all but conceded the race to Al Gore last night. Democratic Party officials say the Bradley campaign aides have told them he’s planning to quit the race tomorrow.
George W. Bush beat Senator McCain in California and New York, the two biggest delegate prizes at stake on Tuesday, and he won five other primaries, as well: Ohio, Georgia, Maine, Missouri and Maryland. Bush also won caucuses in Minnesota and Washington State. McCain won in New England and Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont, as voters in thirteen states participated in the year’s largest night of Republican presidential contests. In all, 613 delegates were at stake. 1,034 are needed for the nomination. Bush won at least 446 delegates, and McCain at least 126, bringing the totals to date to 616 delegates for Bush and 231 for McCain.
Californians overwhelmingly voted to denounce gay marriage and ousted a nine-term Congress member from office on a primary election day that otherwise saw strong support for incumbents across the country. California Senator Dianne Feinstein easily defeated a labor lawyer to win the Democratic nomination for a second full term, while in Ohio, Republican Senator Mike DeWine brushed aside his Republican challengers. Maryland Senator Paul Sarbanes polled 84 percent of the Democratic primary vote in his bid for a fifth term.
The incumbent advantage didn’t always hold, however. In a heavily Hispanic district east of Los Angeles, eighteen-year Congress member Marty Martinez had bucked Democratic leadership on gun control and abortion and lost to California State Senator Hilda Solis in his primary. Martinez was the only incumbent in Congress to lose his seat on Tuesday. With no Republicans running, Solis is all but certain to be elected in November.
California voters decided the fate of twenty ballot initiatives on Super Tuesday, most controversial among them, Proposition 22, which prevents the state from recognizing gay marriages if they’re legalized elsewhere. The measure passed 61 percent to 39 percent. Supporters called it a victory for families, while opponents complained the measure was divisive and could be used to keep gay people from seeking health benefits or adopting children.
Software millionaire Ron Unz, who successfully pushed a 1998 initiative ending bilingual education, was back this year pushing campaign finance reform. His proposition would have allowed for partial public financing of campaigns and would have banned corporate donations.
Voters also came out strongly in favor of a measure that allows prosecutors, rather than juvenile court judges, to decide whether young people, aged fourteen to seventeen, are tried as adults. Voters also extended the circumstances under which the death penalty is warranted. The juvenile crime measure was sponsored by former Republican Governor Pete Wilson and corporations such as Chevron, Unocal and Transamerica. It also limits judges’ authority to refer young people to treatment or probation rather than locked facilities and requires adult prison sentences in most cases for sixteen-year-olds convicted of felonies in adult courts. An opposition leader called the measure a devastating blow to juveniles in California and said it will push thousands of nonviolent offenders into the criminal justice system.
And in Los Angeles County, District Attorney Gil Garcetti, last reelected after the O.J. Simpson trial, appeared headed for a run-off in his campaign for a third term, amid criticism of his handling of the Los Angeles Police Department corruption scandal.
This news from Florida. As Governor Jeb Bush defended his decision to end affirmative action for university admissions and state contracts, thousands of people gathered nearby to rally against the policy, singing “We Shall Overcome” and waving signs reading “Jeb Crow” and “Bushwhack.” Approximately 10,000 people demonstrated against the Governor’s One Florida plan. It bans consideration of race and gender in admissions to the state’s ten public universities and in the awarding of state contracts.