In the most important day of the primary season, Super Tuesday
proved its ability to choose the Democratic presidential nominee.
While Sen. John Kerry succeeded in mustering wins in nine state
primaries, the deciding factor was his last viable rival, Sen. John
Edwards, dropping out of the race.

Laura Wong

The Associated Press reported that Edwards would withdraw from
the race for the nomination.

“I believe that in 2004, one united Democratic Party, we
can and we will win this election,” Kerry said last night
during a victory speech. “Change is coming to
America.”

He also targeted President Bush, claiming that the
president’s foreign policy has been the most “inept,
reckless, arrogant and ideological” in the modern history of
the United States.

Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, in an
interview with The Michigan Daily in Iowa last month, expressed his
desire for a clear candidate to emerge by today.

Kerry’s commanding lead in delegates made his campaign
virtually uncatchable even before last night, when Kerry had 754
delegates and Edwards had 220. Although Kerry has yet to reach the
2,162-delegate threshold for the Democratic nomination, he is now
effectively the man that Bush will face in November.

In 10 Super Tuesday states, 1,151 delegates were up for grabs,
746 of which were available in Ohio, New York and California where
Kerry handily won.

In light of Kerry’s campaign strength, Edwards’s
campaign had debated reeling back its intensity without a strong
showing in Minnesota, Ohio or Georgia. Edwards had devoted the bulk
of his resources to those three states, but an Edwards campaign
spokesman said he planned on campaigning in Texas and Louisiana
following Super Tuesday. Instead, Edwards is now expected to
deliver his withdrawal speech from Raleigh, NC this afternoon.

Last night, while the votes were being tabulated in
Georgia’s close race which Kerry also won, Edwards spoke to
his supporters in Atlanta and reaffirmed much of the rhetoric his
campaign had espoused.

“Throughout this campaign I talked about building one
America,” Edwards said. “This is the America that you
and I believe in and we will fight for as Democrats come
November.”

His comments reflected unity within a Democratic party that has
been criticized for its divisions.

But the frenzy of last night’s primaries and caucuses
subsided to show the effort made by both Edwards and Kerry to
reflect a positive relationship between the two Senators.

The two exchanged a conference call to congratulate the other
and set up a formal meeting later this month. In both
candidates’ closing comments, they credited each other for
contributions to their party.

Up until the polls closed last night, Kerry continued his trend
of discrediting pre-election polls that have routinely predicted
his victories.

The Edwards campaign had relied heavily on its accelerated
efforts that came to fruition in Iowa and other states where he
attracted many previously undecided and independent voters.

What at first appeared to be the biggest surprise of evening
when polls closed at 7 p.m. was Dean winning his home state of
Vermont.

Dean had suspended his campaign indefinitely on Feb. 18 after a
poor showing in the Wisconsin Democratic primary.

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