Democratic Presidential Candidate Kerry Wins Five of Seven State Primary Elections
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) on Tuesday "continued his dominance" in the race, winning five of seven state primary elections, the Washington Post reports. Kerry won in Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, New Mexico and North Dakota. Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) won South Carolina and retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark (D) took Oklahoma (Balz, Washington Post, 2/4). Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) -- who had hoped to "revers[e] his campaign's free fall" -- finished no better than third in any of the primaries, the Baltimore Sun reports (Greene, Baltimore Sun, 2/4). The Rev. Al Sharpton (D) garnered 10% of the South Carolina Democratic vote to place third behind Edwards and Kerry (Abcarian, Los Angeles Times, 2/4). Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) gained no more than 5% of the vote in any of the seven states (AP/Long Island Newsday, 2/4). Meanwhile, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), after failing to win any state primary thus far, on Tuesday night announced the end of his campaign for the presidency, the Wall Street Journal reports (Harwood et al., Wall Street Journal, 2/4). In a speech in Arlington, Va., Lieberman said, "The judgment of the voters is now clear," adding, "I offered a mainstream voice, and I still believe that that is the right choice and the winning choice for our party" (Cardwell, New York Times, 2/4).
Summaries of results from each state as of 4 a.m. EST appear below:
- Arizona: Kerry 43%; Clark 27%; Dean 14%; Edwards 7%; Lieberman 7%; Kucinich 2%; Sharpton less than 1%.
- Delaware: Kerry 50%; Lieberman 11%; Edwards 11%; Dean 10%; Clark 9%; Sharpton 6%; Kucinich 1%.
- Missouri: Kerry 51%; Edwards 25%; Dean 9%; Clark 4%; Lieberman 4%; Sharpton 3%; Kucinich 1%.
- New Mexico: Kerry 42%; Clark 21%; Dean 16%; Edwards 11%; Kucinich 5%; Lieberman 3%.
- North Dakota: Kerry 51%; Clark 24%; Dean 12%; Edwards 10%; Kucinich 3%; Lieberman 1%; Sharpton less than 1% (AP/Long Island Newsday, 2/4).
- Oklahoma: Clark 29.9%; Edwards 29.6%; Kerry 27%; Lieberman 7%; Dean 4%; Sharpton 1%; Kucinich less than 1% (Los Angeles Times, 2/4).
- South Carolina: Edwards 45%; Kerry 30%; Sharpton 10%; Clark 7%; Dean 5%; Lieberman 2%; Kucinich less than 1% (AP/Long Island Newsday, 2/4).
Exit polls in Arizona, Oklahoma and South Carolina indicated that Kerry did well among voters who said health care was a top concern and that voters perceived Kerry as "more electable and more experienced than his rivals," the Los Angeles Times reports (Brownstein, Los Angeles Times, 2/4). Among South Carolina voters, 20% said health care/Medicare was the most important issue in deciding their votes; health care was the second-most important issue in South Carolina behind economy/jobs, according to an exit poll conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for the National Election Pool (Washington Post >graphic, 2/4). Among Arizona and Missouri voters who cited health care/Medicare as the most important issue, Kerry had the highest percentages of support at 27% and 23%, respectively, the exit poll found. In Oklahoma, most of the voters who said health care/Medicare was the most important issue supported Clark, at 21%. In South Carolina, Dean gained the highest percentage -- 30% -- of voters who cited health care/Medicare as the most important issue (New York Times >graphic, 2/4).
Although Tuesday's results "put Kerry in a commanding position" in the race, rivals remain "determined to contest his claim to the nomination" in primaries scheduled for Maine, Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington, according to the Post (Balz, Washington Post, 2/4). Advisers to Kerry said the race's focus will likely turn to domestic issues, such as health care and the economy. Kerry on Tuesday night said, "George Bush, who speaks of strength, has made America weaker: weaker economically, weaker in education, weaker in health care" (VandeHei/Connolly, Washington Post, 2/4). Dean on Tuesday "kept up his attacks on Kerry," according to the Los Angeles Times. "You have a very, very stark choice ... between somebody who's actually delivered health care and balanced budgets and somebody who's a perfectly fine person who hasn't ever delivered any health care," Dean said (Barbarak, Los Angeles Times, 2/4). Meanwhile, as Michigan's primary is set for Saturday, candidates face "a contingent of older voters" who are "pondering the merits of President Bush's new Medicare drug benefit," the Detroit News reports. Prescription drug coverage and prices are a key concern for Michigan voters ages 65 and older, who make up more than 12% of the state population, the News reports (Heinlein/Moore, Detroit News, 2/3).
MPR's "Marketplace Morning Report" Tuesday reported on how Democratic presidential candidates shaped their television advertisements in South Carolina to appeal to different groups of voters, such as those concerned about access to health insurance (Scott, "Marketplace Morning Report," MPR, 2/3). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer. In addition, PBS' "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" Tuesday reported on the TV ads aired by the candidates (Smith, "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," PBS, 2/3). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.