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Kerry wins five more States, Lieberman bows out of race

By Sridhar Krishnaswami

WASHINGTON, FEB. 4. Senator John Kerry is keeping up the momentum for the Democratic Presidential nomination. On Tuesday night, the Massachusetts politician picked up five out of the seven States that were holding contests including those with a large number of delegates such as Missouri and Arizona.

Senator John Edwards is keeping his White House dreams going with a solid win in South Carolina; the political novice by way of the retired General Wesley Clark appears to have won in Oklahoma; the former Governor of Vermont, Howard Dean won nothing other than a handful of delegates; and the Senator from Connecticut, Joseph Lieberman, is gracefully bowing out of the race having failed to win anywhere. "I have decided tonight to end my quest for the Presidency", Mr. Lieberman told his supporters calling his decision "difficult, but realistic".

That was not to be the case of any others who failed to make it to the top. For instance, Mr. Dean has said that his campaign will continue. "This is all about who gets the most delegates in Boston in July, and it's going to be us", the Vermonter told his backers.

But the night belonged to Mr. Kerry whose strong showing of the day has undoubtedly given a major boost to his campaign as it takes on a tougher and wider road in the days ahead. The campaigns now hit the road to Michigan and the state of Washington this Saturday; and eventually to Tennessee and Virginia that go to the primaries next Tuesday.

The Massachusetts Senator who dubbed himself as "Comeback Kerry" after a stunning win Iowa which was followed by New Hampshire came away with a clear win in Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, North Dakota and New Mexico with the biggest catch being that of Missouri with 74 delegates going to the Democratic Convention in Boston this Summer.

Senator Edwards is obviously making a lot out of his victory in South Carolina which is traditionally seen as the `gateway' to the South. Further the contests for Tuesday involved states for the first time that had significant minority populations be it African American in South Carolina or the Hispanic voters in Arizona and New Mexico. Of the 269 delegates that were up for grabs Mr. Kerry will end up with about one half; and Mr. Edwards by about 25 per cent.

The rest will go to Gen Clark, Mr. Dean and the only African American in the pack, the Reverend Al Sharpton.

A candidate needs 2161 delegates to win the party nomination this July.

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