M A I N   N E W S

Potomac Obama on a roll
Takes all 3 primaries; ditto McCain
Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington

Illinois Democratic Senator Barack Obama extended his winning streak on Tuesday night when he emerged triumphant in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland and picked up enough delegates to vault past Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the frontrunner for the party's presidential nomination.

It was also a big night for Senator John McCain whose victories in all three of the "Potomac Primaries" cemented his position as the Republican Party's presumptive nominee in the November presidential election.

Obama won Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia by convincing margins. With 98 per cent of precints reporting in the nation's capital, he had 75 per cent of the vote to Clinton's 24 per cent. In Virginia, across the Potomac River from where the contest derived its name, Obama had 64 per cent of the vote to Clinton's 35 per cent with 99 per cent of the precints reporting. While in neighbouring Maryland, with 83 per cent of the precints reporting Obama had 60 per cent of the vote to Clinton's 37 per cent. Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, has now won eight straight contests against Clinton.

In all, 168 pledged delegates were at stake for the Democrats and 116 for the Republicans. According to CNN calculations, Obama has 1,215 delegates to Clinton's 1,190.To win the Democratic Party's nomination a candidate must win 2,025 delegates.

Like Obama, McCain handily defeated his opponent. With 98 per cent of the precints reporting, McCain had 68 per cent of the vote in D.C. to former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's 17 per cent. In Virginia, with 99 per cent of the precints reporting, McCain was leading 50 per cent to 41 per cent. While in Maryland, with 83 per cent reporting, he was up 55 per cent to 30 per cent.

McCain has 812 delegates while Huckabee has 217.A Republican candidate requires 1,191 delegates to secure the nomination.

Despite the odds being stacked heavily against him, Huckabee has refused to bow out of the race. "The nomination is not secured until somebody has 1,191 delegates," Huckabee said. "That has not yet happened. We're still continuing to work and to give voters in these states a choice."

Obama rallied supporters telling them, "The change we seek swept through Chesapeake and over the Potomac. We won the state of Maryland. We won the commonwealth of Virginia. And though we won in Washington, D.C., this movement won't stop until there is a change in Washington, D.C., and tonight we're on our way."



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