Obama Beats Clinton in Three-State Sweep
New York Times , Feb. 10, 2008
This is the kind of surge we like. After winning the Louisiana primary and caucuses in Washington state, Nebraska, and the Virgin Islands, Obama gave a strong, confident speech  at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Richmond, sharpening the distinctions between himself and Hillary Clinton and asserting his strengths as a general election candidate over John McCain. The so-called GOP front-runner, who seems not to have won anywhere on Saturday, was Obama’s principal target.
Obama Wins Louisiana Democratic Primary
By Ed Anderson
Times-Picayune Capital bureau
[full story here ]
BATON ROUGE—Illinois Sen. Barack Obama launched another surge in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination Saturday, defeating New York Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Louisiana primary after caucus victories in Nebraska and Washington state earlier in the day.
Louisiana election officials said turnout for Saturday’s primary was about 15 percent of eligible voters.
State Democratic Party leaders said it was too early to say exactly how many of the delegates would go to Obama and how many to Clinton. Both candidates staged last-minute campaigns in Louisiana last week, with Obama concentrating efforts in New Orleans and Clinton’s husband former, President Bill Clinton, staging a five-city blitz around the state Friday.
The state Democratic Party apportions 37 of its 67 delegates based on the popular vote in the state’s seven congressional districts. Party officials said the delegate distribution will not be known until election results are made official later in the week.
Obama Wins Louisiana Democratic Primary
The rest of the Democratic Party delegates are chosen by party leaders.
House Speaker Pro Tem Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, a coordinator for Obama in Louisiana, told a jubilant crowd of backers in New Orleans that Obama’s victory in the state will further energize a campaign that is already on a roll.
“This is a significant win for the senator,” she said of Obama’s Saturday sweep. “This gives him solid standing and the clear momentum” heading into Tuesday’s primaries in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
“We are going to win this thing,” Peterson said.
Trying to become the first African-American elected to the U.S. presidency, Obama got more than 80 percent of the black vote in Louisiana, according exit polls conducted by The Associated Press. African-Americans make up about 45 percent of the state’s registered Democrats.
Unlike other Democratic contests, there was no significant gender gap in Louisiana, according to the AP. Clinton, who is seeking to become the nation’s first female president, won the votes of most white men, a group she has lost to Obama in some states but has tended to win in the South. Just over half of those women who said gender was important to their vote went for Clinton, while women who said gender wasn’t important went almost 6 in 10 for Obama.
With neither Republican candidate visiting Louisiana in the days leading up to the primary the GOP campaign was a low-key affair and Huckabee’s strong showing caught some off guard.
Matt Parker, the acting executive director of the state GOP, said the support for Huckabee was “off the radar.”
Parker said a lot of the votes for Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, came from the more socially conservative areas of the state from Alexandria northward.
Almost half of the voters in the Louisiana GOP primary described themselves as born-again, evangelical Christians, according to the AP exit poll, and most of them voted for Huckabee. He also won two-thirds of those voters who said they were looking for a candidate who shares their values.
Seven in 10 Republicans called themselves conservatives, and almost half said they were “very conservative,” in the AP survey. McCain won handily among the minority of moderates, while Huckabee won among the most conservative voters. The two candidates split the votes of those who said they were “somewhat conservative.”
Candidates from both parties who had dropped out of the race or placed their campaigns on hold appeared on the ballot and had their votes counted because withdrawal papers have not been received, Secretary of State Jay Dardenne said.
Only registered Republicans and Democrats were eligible to vote in the primary. About 22 percent of Louisiana voters aren’t affiliated with either party. State and local officials said they received complaints from some voters who said they believed their registrations had been changed without their knowledge.
Obama’s campaign said it was urging those people to cast provisional ballots that could be counted later if the voter’s complaint is upheld.
Dardenne spokesman Jacques Berry said there was “a significant number, more than usual” of complaints from voters who claimed they were not able to vote Saturday. Most, Berry said, were voters who were not aligned with the Democratic Party or Republican Party complaining they could not cast a vote for a presidential candidate.
The only items non-Democrats and non-Republicans could vote for were bond and referendum issues or local non-partisan elections. The rest of Saturday’s ballot was dotted with races for the Democratic and Republican State Central committees, the bodies that run the two parties, and local parish party committees — open only to members of the parties.
Besides Obama and Clinton, the other Democrats on the ballot were: Sens. Joe Biden of Delaware; Christopher Dodd of Connecticut; former U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina; U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio; and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. All have dropped out except Clinton and Obama.
Besides Huckabee and McCain, the other GOP choices on the ballot were retired Maj. Gen. Jerry Curry of Pennsylvania; North Carolina businessman Daniel Gilbert; former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani; U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter of California; former State Department official Alan Keyes; U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado; and actor and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee.
Thompson, Tancredo, Giuliani, Romney and Hunter have dropped or halted their campaigns.
The primary, which costs about $5 million, has been the subject of debate over the years with many questioning the need to spend money on races that traditionally draw 10 to 15 percent of the voters and are no more than political beauty contests.
Louisiana was the only state to hold a primary Saturday while three other states held caucuses.