Obama wins Wyoming caucuses
9 March 2008
WASHINGTON, US – Senator Barack Obama won the Democratic caucuses in the western state of Wyoming on Saturday, in the latest contest in the hotly contested state-by-state battle to represent the party in November presidential elections.
Obama had 61% of the vote to opponent Hillary Clinton’s 38%, with all of the state’s caucus sites reporting results, according to the state’s Democratic Party.
More than 8,600 party members had turned out for the party meetings in the generally Republican-leaning state, an unusually high turnout in the sparsely populated state of about 500,000 with nearly 60,000 Democrats.
Only a few hundred Democrats turned out for the party’s caucuses in 2004, but this year’s long, close race between Clinton and Obama has generated interest in states that traditionally have had little say in determining the party’s candidate.
The battle between Obama, 46, and Clinton, 60, took an increasingly nasty tone in the run-up to caucuses in Wyoming on Saturday and primary voting on Tuesday in Mississippi, with each fighting for every crucial delegate needed to nab the nomination. Clinton continued to hammer Obama’s perceived lack of experience and Obama shooting back about a lack of transparency in Clinton’s camp.
Though just 12 delegates of the 2,205 needed to be named the party’s candidate are to be determined in Saturday’s caucus, both candidates had visited the state to appeal to Democrats.
Clinton lags behind Obama in the delegate count needed to secure the nomination at the party’s convention in Denver in August by less than 100 delegates, with 1,428 delegates compared to Obama’s 1,527 after Wyoming’s caucuses, according to CNN.
CNN estimated that Obama would receive at least seven delegates from the caucuses and Clinton would receive at least four.
Only centre-left Democrats caucused in Wyoming on Saturday; the centre-right Republicans held their contest there in January. Republican Senator John McCain sealed his grip on the nomination on Tuesday with primary wins in Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Rhode Island.
Obama has done well in states with caucuses since winning the first contest in Iowa in January, and Clinton has criticized the party meetings as being unrepresentative of the general electorate.
Obama is also expected to win a contests Tuesday in Mississippi, with its large African American population, where he leads by large margins in all polls.
The two candidates will then have more than a month to prepare for the last big-state primary in delegate- rich Pennsylvania on April 22. Polls there show Clinton with an average lead of about 12 percentage points.
With the Democratic race so close, there is pressure for repeat voting in two states whose primary results were dismissed by the national party because they disobeyed directives not to hold their contests in January – Florida and Michigan.
Under Democratic rules, delegates are assigned proportional to the vote, meaning a candidate can lose the majority vote but still get a sizeable number of delegates.
[Copyright dpa 2008]