Super Tuesday Wrap-up And Wednesday Open Threadby Doug Mataconis
So, where do things stand this morning ?
Here’s how I see it:
Though he didn’t do quite as well as I expected, it’s clear that John McCain was the big winner last night. He won nine states and a total of 511 delegates, including big wins in New York, New Jersey, and, somewhat of a surprise given the late polls showing a surge to Romney, California. What came as a surprise, though, and prevented McCain from claiming a prohibitive victory tonight was the surprising success of Mike Huckabee; he won West Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and his home state of Arkansas.
While this did cut into McCain’s lead, what’s more important that it blunted any chance of success that Mitt Romney had last night. Romney did win 7 states and 176 delegates — including wins in Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, Alaska, and, of course, Utah — but it wasn’t enough to blunt McCain’s march toward the nomination. And, finally, Ron Paul had about the night I expected he would; he did well in caucus states like Montana, Colorado, and Minnesota, but only managed a third place finish in Alaska, where there was some though he might actually have had a chance to win.
As of this morning, and the numbers seem to be changing a little, here’s where the delegate count stands:
- John McCain — 615 delegates (1,191 needed to win)
- Mitt Romney — 268 delegates
- Mike Huckabee — 169 delegates
- Ron Paul — 16 delegates
So, McCain isn’t the prohibitive nominee but he’s pretty darn close. He only needs 576 more delegates to clinch the nomination; Romney on the other hand would need nearly 900, meaning he’d have to win almost every primary from now until June, which isn’t going to happen. Next week, we move on to Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia which McCain should win handily. At that point, Romney is just going to need to give up the ghost. Huckabee, on the other hand, has played the role of spoiler well and I still think we’ll see him as the Vice-Presidential nominee. And Ron Paul ? Well, I just don’t see how he runs a credible campaign from this point on, and he’s not winning enough delegates to be taken seriously at the convention.
While the Republican race became clearer last night, the Democratic race is now closer than ever:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won victories over Sen. Barack Obama in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York last night, giving her presidential campaign a crucial boost. But Obama countered by winning of a string of states, including the general election battleground of Missouri, in the seesaw race for the Democratic nomination.
The results ensured that the fierce contest for delegates will continue into critical primaries in Texas and Ohio on March 4, and possibly beyond, in what has become the party’s most competitive race in at least a quarter of a century.
Clinton claimed four of the five biggest prizes in Super Tuesday’s 22-state Democratic competition. She also captured Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Those victories helped stem what appeared to be gathering momentum around Obama’s candidacy since he won in South Carolina on Jan. 26.
But Obama won in more places than his New York rival, racking up victories in his home state of Illinois, as well as Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and Utah. His narrow victory in Missouri came after Clinton appeared on the brink of winning there. Only the outcome in New Mexico remained unresolved early this morning.
What’s more important, though, is that even in states where he lost, like California, Obama did far better than the polls showed him doing even ten days ago. The momentum in this race is clearly with Barack Obama, and these two candidates are going to be fighting it out for at least another month.
Here’s where the Democratic delegate count stands:
- Hillary Clinton — 825 delegates (2,025 needed to win)
- Barack Obama — 732 delegates
- John Edwards — 26 delegates
What’s will be interesting to watch is what happens next week in states like Virginia and Maryland, and beyond that. If Obama can continue racking up wins, we will see more Democratic powerbrokers coming to his side and Clinton’s days may well be numbered.