Kerry sweeps weekend caucuses

Posted 4:25pm February 13

by Melissa Kronfeld
U-WIRE Washington Bureau

Last weekend’s caucuses proved to be yet another stunning victory for Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, who swept Michigan and Washington on Saturday and Maine on Sunday.

Kerry received 52 percent of the vote in Michigan. Former Governor Howard Dean was left trailing far behind with only 17 percent of the vote and Sen. John Edwards was left with a marginal 13 percent. The remaining candidates fell into single digits. Washington proved to be another landslide with Kerry taking 49 percent of the vote, and Dean trailing relatively closer then in Michigan with 30 percent. All the other remaining candidates scored below the 10 percent line. Finally in Maine Kerry took 45 percent of the vote while Dean took 26 percent.

In his victory speech, Kerry told the crowd, “Today, the voters of Maine have sent a message that George Bush’s days are numbered and change is coming to America.”

Each state represents a certain amount of delegate votes. The general purpose of the caucuses are for the candidates to amass 2,161 delegates throughout the country to get the presidential ticket. Not only has Kerry taken 10 of 12 caucuses and primaries, he has taken 409 delegates from these elections. This lead is followed only by a distant second place Dean who holds only 174. Edwards and Clark say they still pose competition with 116 and 82 delegates respectively.

Kerry’s victories seem to be shaking the very foundation of his opponents. In a recent USA Today/CNN Gallup Poll, when matched against the current President George W. Bush, the result showed that it was too close to call. With a three percent margin of error, Bush took 49 percent of the vote and Kerry took 48 percent.

But it is more then just what he appears to represent when contrasted against the President. Kerry’s electability originates in the strength of the Democrats who rally behind him. Kerry’s appeal to all facets of the Democratic Party makes him the sweetheart of the campaign. But what is even more important is Kerry’s support from the swing voter ranks, especially among independents.

Underscoring his surprising victory over the then frontrunner Dean in Iowa, Kerry’s campaign has launched a new wave of attacks from the other presidential hopefuls. Media reports attacking Kerry’s stance on special interests, whose stronghold he has vowed to break in the nation’s capital, have proliferated. But according to the Gallup Poll, these attempts to bring down Kerry have had little if any effect on his support.

Primaries are to be held in Virginia and Tennessee on Tuesday and polls conducted in those states already show Kerry as having a sizable lead.

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