Indiana: White House hopeful Hillary Clinton Tuesday claimed victory in the Democratic presidential primary in Indiana, saying it “was full speed on to the White House.”
With 91% of the precincts reporting, U.S networks said Clinton was leading Obama by just 51% to 49%, but had not yet called the tight race in the midwestern state more than four hours after the polls closed.
The New York senator said Obama had recently predicted that Indiana would be the tiebreaker in their drawn-out battle for the Democratic Party’s nomination.
An Indiana victory for Clinton would be critical for her efforts to hold on against Illinois Senator Obama, who handily won Tuesday’s nominating contest in North Carolina.
With 98 % of North Carolina precincts reporting, Obama was ahead 56% to 42% in the southeastern state with a substantial African American population.
Clinton trails Obama in the national delegate count, contests won and overall national vote, but she indicated she was prepared to stick it out until the last primaries are held on June 3 in order to make her case that she is best positioned to face Republican John McCain in the November election.
“We’ve got a long road ahead, but we’re going to keep fighting on that path for America, because America is worth fighting for,” Clinton said. “I’m going to work my heart out in West Virginia and Kentucky this month and I intend to win them in November in the general election,” she told cheering supporters.
“I am running to be the president of all of America -- north, south, east and west and everywhere in between. That’s why it is so important that we count the votes of Florida and Michigan,” she added, referring to states whose primaries were controversially discounted by the Democratic National Committee for holding their primaries too early.
Clinton is bidding to become the first woman U.S president, while Obama aims to be the nation’s first black commander-in-chief.
Neither can reach the threshold of 2,025 delegates needed to win the nomination outright, which means victory will likely be decided by nearly 800 “superdelegates” -- unpledged party grandees who are free to vote for either candidate at the Democratic National Convention in August.