Democratic Presidential Candidate Sen. John Kerry Wins Primaries in Virginia, Tennessee
Presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) on Tuesday won "commanding victories" in the Tennessee and Virginia Democratic primaries, "solidifying his position as perhaps the unstoppable front-runner for the Democratic nomination and dealing a serious blow to his two Southern rivals," retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark (D) from Arkansas and Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), the New York Times reports (Toner, New York Times, 2/11). In Tennessee, with 96% of precincts reporting, Kerry received 41% of the vote, followed by Edwards with 27%, Clark with 23%, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) with 4%, the Rev. Al Sharpton (D) with 2% and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) with 1%. In Virginia, with 100% of precincts reporting, Kerry received 52% of the vote, followed by Edwards with 27%, Clark with 9%, Dean with 7%, Sharpton with 3% and Kucinich with 1% (AP/New York Times graphic, 2/11). Kerry has won 12 of the 14 state primaries and caucuses held to date (Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 2/11). Kerry had 431 of the 2,161 delegates required to secure the Democratic presidential nomination before the primaries in Tennessee, where 85 delegates were at stake, and Virginia, where 96 delegates were at stake (Thomma, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/11). Kerry won 31 delegates in Tennessee and 54 in Virginia, according to CNN.com (CNN.com, 2/11).
About 20% of voters in the Virginia primary cited health care/Medicare as the most important issue that affected their candidate selections, according to a poll of 1,679 voters conducted by Edison Media Research. About 34% of respondents cited the economy/jobs, and 18% cited the war in Iraq, according to the poll, which included a list of six issues. The poll also found that 62% of respondents who voted for Kerry cited health care/Medicare as their most important issue, compared with 25% among those who voted for Edwards (Washington Post graphic, 2/11). In a similar poll of 2,489 voters in the Tennessee primary conducted by the same organization, 20% of respondents cited health care/Medicare as the most important issue that affected their candidate selections. About 39% of respondents cited the economy/jobs, and 15% cited the war in Iraq, according to the poll (New York Times graphic, 2/11).
Clark on Wednesday plans to travel to Arkansas to formally announce that he will end his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to Matt Bennett, communications director for the Clark campaign, the New York Times reports. Clark plans to make the announcement in Little Rock, Ark., his hometown. Clark, who entered the race in mid-September, about 19 weeks before primaries, won one primary in Oklahoma (Wyatt, New York Times, 2/11). NPR's "Morning Edition" on Wednesday reported on whether health care proposals released by the Democratic presidential candidates are "at all possible." The segment includes comments from Dean, Kerry and Sharpton (Rovner, "Morning Edition," NPR, 2/11). 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.