Senator John Kerry squeezed by Senator John Edwards last night to win the Wisconsin Democratic primary which surprisingly turned into a close race. Kerry won with about 40 percent of the vote. Edwards received 34 percent. Polls leading up to the primary showed Kerry had a commanding lead and Edwards coming in a distant third place. Analysts say Edwards won over many voters in the lead-up to primary day by focusing primarily on jobs and trade. The Los Angeles Times is reporting Howard Dean will stop campaigning but will not formally drop out in order to leave his name on the ballot. Last night Dean headed back to his home state of Vermont where he is expected to announced the decision today.
Online Fundraising Helps Dems Win House Seat In Kentucky
In other election news voters in Kentucky elected former state Attorney General Ben Chandler to Congress in the first federal election of 2004. Chandler became the first Democrat since 1991 to win a Republican-held seat in a special election. But the election may become best remembered not for the candidates but the fundraising techniques. Chandler raised over $100,000 in campaign donations from across the country through ads on liberal websites. Writing on the site talkingpointsmemo Joshua Marshall say the election may prove that the Internet can do for Democratic fundraisng what direct-mail solicitations did for the Republican Party. Marshall writes “For the first time in a long time Democrats have a technology, a mechanism that is allowing them to raise large sums of money, not from a few well-heeled givers but from large numbers of energized Democrats.” And many liberal websites have already started raising money for the next special Congressional election which takes place in South Dakota on June 1.
In the Iraqi city of Hilla south of Baghdad, 11 Iraqis died and 58 foreign troops were wounded in a double suicide car bombing at a military base today. Guards at the base managed to stop one of the cars but the second car exploded after smashing into a wall.
Haitian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune said yesterday “We are witnessing the coup d’état machine in motion.” Neptune said international assistance was needed after nearly two weeks of violence orchestrated by opponents of the government had left dozens of people dead. Agence France Presse reports that United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan is considering taking some role in the country and France said it would consider sending peacekeepers. Meanwhile the White House publicly urged President Aristide to take “Essential steps” to change how he governs the nation.
The New York Times is reporting the U.S. has begun working closely with the Pakistani military to crack down on suspected supporters of Al Qaeda. The Times reports Pakistani troops go into villages, give the village leaders a list of wanted men. If the suspects are not handed over, the Pakistani military punishes the entire village by either withdrawing funds or demolishing houses. The U.S. commander in the area praised the tactics by saying, “they’re confronting the tribal elders and they’re holding them accountable for activities in their areas of influence. [It’s] a major step forward.”
A federal prosecutor in Detroit has filed a lawsuit against Attorney General John Ashcroft and two other officials within the Justice Department. The suit alleges Ashcroft interfered with the prosecutors case and conducted a smear campaign against him and received a “lack of support and cooperation, lack of effective assistance, [and] lack of resources.” Ashcroft is also accused of outing one of the prosecution’s informants. The prosecutor, Richard Convertino is an assistant U.S. attorney and has been involved in one of the most high profile terrorism cases.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has condemned the construction of the massive Israeli wall through much of the West Bank and called on Israel to stop the project. The Red Cross said the wall went “far beyond what is permissible for an occupying power”. The Swiss organization also noted that the wall will deprive thousands of Palestinians of access to water, health care and education.
In Iran, more than 200 people have been killed and 350 more injured after a runaway train carrying gas and fertilizer exploded.
On Capitol Hill. Republican and Democratic Congressional leaders yesterday accused the Agriculture Department of misleading the public about a central fact in the nation’s first known case of mad cow disease. For the past two months the department has claimed that the animal that had tested positive for mad cow disease was a downer which meant it was sick and could not walk. But an investigation by the House Committee on Government Reform found that not to be true. The Committee interviewed three eyewitnesses to the slaughter of the cow who said the cow did not appear sick at all. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman, Congressional leaders wrote that this “could have serious implications for both the adequacy of the national [mad cow] surveillance system and the credibility of the USDA.”