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Obama increases lead with wins in two US states

Obama increases lead with wins in two US states
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First Published: Thu, Feb 21 2008. 09 30 AM IST
Updated: Thu, Feb 21 2008. 09 30 AM IST
Washington: Sen. Barack Obama captured most of the delegates in the Wisconsin and Hawaii contests, increasing his lead in the race for the Democratic nomination for US president.
Sen. John McCain, meanwhile, moved closer to clinching the Republican nomination.
Obama won 56 delegates in the two states, with one still to be awarded in Hawaii. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won 37.
Obama also got a boost from new superdelegate endorsements, as well as newly released returns from several elections that were held on Super Tuesday. Election results have been slow in some states because of delays in assigning votes to the proper congressional district.
In the overall race for the nomination, Obama led with 1,351 delegates, including separately chosen party and elected officials known as superdelegates. Clinton had 1,262.
Obama has built the lead by winning 10 straight contests since Super Tuesday. Clinton has kept it closer with more endorsements from superdelegates, who can support whomever they choose at the convention, regardless of what happens in the primaries.
It takes 2,025 delegates to secure the Democratic nomination.
A breakdown of the race for Democratic delegates:
• Pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses: Obama, 1,178; Clinton, 1,024.
• Superdelegates: Obama, 173; Clinton, 238.
• On the Republican side, McCain won 34 delegates in Wisconsin and Washington state, while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won three. The race in one Wisconsin congressional district was too close to call Wednesday, and complete results in Washington state could take several days.
• Overall, McCain had 957 delegates after picking up more endorsements from party leaders who automatically attend the convention. Huckabee had 254.
• It takes 1,191 delegates to claim the Republican nomination at the national convention in September.
With Tuesday’s results, Huckabee needs help from Mitt Romney’s former delegates just to remain a viable candidate. Romney has withdrawn from the race and endorsed McCain. But the former Massachusetts governor has little authority over his 256 delegates, most of whom will be free agents at the convention.
Romney actually picked up a few delegates Wednesday, based on newly released results from elections held before he quit the race.
The Associated Press tracks the delegate races by calculating the number of national convention delegates won by candidates in each presidential primary or caucus, based on state and national party rules, and by interviewing unpledged delegates to obtain their preferences.
Most primaries and some caucuses are binding, meaning delegates won by the candidates are pledged to support that candidate at the national conventions this summer.
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First Published: Thu, Feb 21 2008. 09 30 AM IST