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2004-02-04

Kerry Wins 5 of 7 States; Edwards Scores Big Win in SC, Clark Takes Oklahoma, Lieberman Drops Out

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Sen. John Kerry continued his dominance of the Democratic presidential race last night winning contests in Missouri, North Dakota, Delaware, Arizona and New Mexico. Sen. John Edwards easily won his native South Carolina and Wesley Clark claimed a narrow victory in Oklahoma. Sen. Joe Lieberman quit the race after finishing a distant second in Delaware and Howard Dean finished the night without a victory.

Sen. John Kerry continued his dominance of the Democratic presidential race last night, decisively winning five of the seven states holding primaries and caucuses and rolling up far more of the 269 delegates at stake than any of his rivals.

Sen. John Edwards easily won South Carolina and Gen. Wesley Clark claimed a narrow victory in Oklahoma. Sen. Joe Lieberman quit the race and Howard Dean finished the night without a victory.

Kerry got at least half the vote in Missouri, North Dakota and Delaware, and won by about 15 percentage points in Arizona and New Mexico. The Massachusetts senator demonstrated his strength across the range of Democratic voters, winning big among Hispanics in Arizona and all racial and income groups in Missouri–the two states with the most delegates.

North Carolina Senator John Edwards easily won the first primary in the South by rolling up a big victory over Kerry in South Carolina. Edwards won 45 percent of the vote, with Kerry coming in second with 30, while the Rev. Al Sharpton won 10 percent.

Edwards won voters across the board, leading Kerry among both men and women and in every age group and income category. This according to the Washington Post. He had a huge margin among white voters, but had only a slender advantage among African Americans–who make up more than 40 percent of the electorate in South Carolina.

Gen. Wesley Clark proved he was still in the race with a narrow victory over Edwards in Oklahoma and second place in three states: Arizona, New Mexico and North Dakota.

Clark claimed victory in Oklahoma after a seesaw battle with Edwards that saw the lead change hands several times. With all of the precincts reporting, Clark and Edwards both won 30% of the vote with Clark edging out Edwards by less than 1,300 votes. After his victory Clark told CNN "I’ve won a state, and I’m thrilled."

Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut quit the race after finishing a distant second behind Kerry in Delaware and running poorly in other states. Lieberman, who had staked his hopes on a win in Delaware captured just 11% of the votes there, finishing far behind Kerry’s 50% and just a handful of votes ahead of Edwards and Dean. After announcing his pulling out he said to supporters "Am I disappointed? Naturally. But am I proud of what we stood for in this campaign? You bet I am."

Former Vermont governor Howard Dean finished the night without a victory and with very few delegates, running third or lower everywhere. He remained defiant and vowed to stay in the race saying he will "keep going and going and going and going and going, just like the Energizer Bunny."

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who put his emphasis on South Carolina, finished a distant third behind Edwards and Kerry but told supporters last night that, after having finished ahead of Clark, Dean and Lieberman in the state, "we started a movement that will transform the Democratic Party."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich finished well out of the money but vowed to continue, saying "We are barely into this primary season." Kucinich predicts the race will go all the way to the Democratic National Convention in Boston this summer.

The results of the night put Kerry in a commanding position in the Democratic race and the race now turns to Michigan, Washington and Maine this weekend, Tennessee and Virginia next week and beyond.

  • Sen. John Kerry, speaking in Seattle, Feb. 3, 2004.
  • Sen. John Edwards, speaking in South Carolina, Feb. 3, 2004.
  • Howard Dean, speaking in Washington State, Feb. 3, 2004.
  • Sen. Joseph Lieberman, speaking in Delaware, Feb. 3, 2004.
  • Rev. Al Sharpton, speaking in South Carolina, Feb. 3, 2004
  • Jeremiah Luria Johnson, reporter covering elections for KUNM community radio based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Bruce Shapiro, contributing editor for the Nation and a national correspondent for Salon.com. His most recent book is "Shaking the Foundations: 200 Years of Investigative Journalism in America." He has been reporting from South Carolina this week.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Bruce Shapiro. Reverend Sharpton’s coming in third in South Carolina?

BRUCE SHAPIRO: Notable in two ways. First of all, Sharpton who worked very hard personally in South Carolina, did take, perhaps a third of the African American vote there. This is an African American electorate, which has a history of being courted and then abandoned. People are very cautious about their support and really thought hard there about whom to support. Clearly, there was a message there for the Democratic Party nationally. I don’t think it necessarily will translate into a large success for Sharpton further down the line, but it does force the other candidates to say that the question of African American voters, of their enthusiasm of their participation, of their agendas must be moved up in consciousness.

There are a lot of interesting things about the south. When politicians talk about the south, when Democrats like John Kerry and Dean and Edwards talk about the south, most of the time they’re speaking in code about the white south, when they say that the Democrats need the south. They don’t need the south. There’s an interesting argument that the best way to secure the south is in fact to really move on African American voters there. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., and Frank Watkins had an interesting book last year suggested that in fact an African American vice presidential nominee, someone like, let’s say, Bobby Scott from Virginia, sort of an economic populist, strong message across racial lines, but vigorous support in his own community, would do more to shore up the Democratic ticket than even a white southerner. So, we are really talking about multiple souths here, and certainly in South Carolina, that was very clear where Al Sharpton did hurt both Kerry and Edwards. Probably Kerry more than Edwards.

AMY GOODMAN: Bruce Shapiro, speaking to us from the airport in South Carolina. You are listening to Democracy Now!

When we come back, we’ll go to New Mexico for a minute, and then we’ll be joined by investigative reporter, Wayne Barrett, who has the cover story of this week’s Village Voice called "Sleeping with Republicans — GOP Operatives Finance and Orchestrate Al Sharpton’s campaign." Stay with us.

AMY GOODMAN: As we continue on the campaign trail with Jeremiah Johnson, reporter with KUNM, a community radio station based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. New Mexico was a caucus, not a primary. Tell us what happened with the Kerry win.

JEREMIAH LURIA JOHNSON: The election went very smoothly. It was New Mexico’s first time doing it. The Kerry win was not necessarily a surprise and the fact that Clark came in with 20% and Kerry came in with 40% isn’t either. There are lots of veterans in the state. The state has given thousands of men and women to the armed forces. By the time we pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan there will be a lot more veterans. I don’t know about other states, but in New Mexico there are commercials with photographs and film footage of Clark and the film footages of Kerry. Kerry looks as if he’s walking in a Vietnamese village carrying an M-16 in one of his TV ads. These are powerful images for veterans who suffer everyday from the wounds they received in wars overseas. The folks who line up at the veterans administration hospital everyday are looking for people who can feel their pain. Another sort of interesting finish here in the state was that 5% of New Mexico Democrats voted for Dennis Kucinich. And that was a movement that started in April, of folks who were in the Green party who actually changed their voter affiliation from Green to Democrat in order to specifically vote for Dennis Kucinich.

So, it’s possible that the Kerry showing…showing so strong and Clark showing so strong is going to tell the party that this, or tell those candidates that the veteran issue is working. And another part of this is that with the Kucinich win it’s possible that the Democratic candidates will take a look left over their shoulder, and it’s possible that some of the issues that they were not hitting on before, they might start hitting on in terms of trying to get folks who are either from the left and are new to the Democratic Party or people who are in the Democratic Party who feel as if it’s for the most part moved way towards the center, way towards the right of the scale of Democratic politics.

AMY GOODMAN: Jeremiah Luria Johnson reporting from New Mexico, a minority majority state. 42% of New Mexico is Latino. 10% Native American. This is Democracy Now!

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