Democratic Presidential Candidate Sen. John Kerry Wins Nine Contests; Rival Sen. John Edwards Ends Candidacy
Presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) on Tuesday "blazed to victories" in Democratic primaries and caucuses across the United States, winning nine of the 10 races, the New York Times reports (Nagourney, New York Times, 3/3). The wins "cemented the Democratic presidential nomination" for Kerry and appear to have prompted "his closest rival" Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) to end his candidacy, the Detroit Free Press reports (Kuhnhenn, Detroit Free Press, 3/3). Kerry won the races in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D), who withdrew from the race two weeks ago, won in Vermont. The Rev. Al Sharpton (D) and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) posted "mostly single-digit showings," according to the Times. In total, 29 states and the District of Columbia have held races. Edwards, who is expected to formally withdraw from the race on Wednesday, praised Kerry as "an extraordinary advocate for causes that all of us believe in: more jobs, better health care, a cleaner environment, a safer world" (New York Times, 3/3). Edwards has been "under pressure" from the Democratic party "to call a halt to his campaign not only to help unify the party but also to preserve his prospects of becoming the party's vice presidential nominee," the Washington Post reports (Balz, Washington Post, 3/3).
Kerry is now "girding for a sea change in the nature of" his presidential bid, as he prepares to launch a general election campaign against President Bush, according to the Times (New York Times, 3/3). Although exit polls showed that about 33% of voters in Tuesday's races said that the economy and jobs were the top issues in the election, "far outpacing other issues such as health care and the war in Iraq," Bush and Kerry are both seeking to use health care as an issue in their campaign platforms, the AP/St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (Lester, AP/St. Paul Pioneer Press, 3/3). Bush is aiming to use last year's enactment of the Medicare law to tout his record on health care, according to the Detroit Free Press. However, Kerry yesterday "blast[ed] Bush's tax cuts for the rich and promis[ed] he will close tax loopholes, offer new incentives for manufacturers, protect the environment, raise the minimum wage and cut health care costs," the Free Press reports (Detroit Free Press, 3/3). Stephanie Cutter, a spokesperson for Kerry, said, "Just as Republicans want to run on Bush's record, so do we. Three million jobs lost, 40 million lost to health care, and the nation is less secure. The American people are ready for a change" (Espo, AP/St. Paul Pioneer Press, 3/3).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.