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McCain in front; Dem duel continues

Los Angeles Times/Syndicate

Los Angeles Times

Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama dueled to a Super Tuesday draw, capturing states big and small and padding their delegate counts in a Democratic contest that remains highly competitive after the biggest day of balloting in presidential primary history.

Clinton won the biggest state, California, capitalizing on support from Hispanic voters.

Clinton won big in the Northeast: her home state of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. She carried Oklahoma, Arizona, Tennessee and Arkansas, where she served as first lady alongside then-Gov. Bill Clinton.

Obama ran strongly in the Midwest, capturing his home state of Illinois along with Minnesota, North Dakota and Kansas. He also won Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Georgia and Utah.

Under Democratic Party rules that award nominating delegates on a proportional basis, both candidates boosted their totals enough to claim victory, and the race seemed no more settled that it had been 24 hours earlier. The Democrats move on to contests Saturday in Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington state, and Tuesday in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Beyond that, both sides foresee a protracted battle extending into March and perhaps much longer.

Speaking in soft, even tones – possibly to spare her strained vocal chords – Clinton acknowledged that the results were far from decisive.

“I want to congratulate Senator Obama for his victory tonight, and I look forward to continuing our campaign and our debates about how to leave this country better off for the next generation,” she said.

Obama returned the favor in Chicago, congratulating Clinton on her performance and praising her for “running an outstanding campaign.”

But, he went on, “We have to choose between change and more of the same. We have to choose between looking backward and looking forward. We have to choose between our future and our past.”

Clinton scored the advantage in delegates, bringing her total to 845 to Obama’s 765, by the latest accounting. It takes 2,025 delegates to claim their nomination.

The vote Tuesday showed Obama broadening his coalition while Clinton continued to show strength among Hispanics and voters worried about the economy.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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