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Obama Wins Mississippi

Candidates prepare for next big contest in Pennsylvania

By Abigayle Lista | null null , null
Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama greets workers at the Gamesa Turbine manufacturing facility on March 11, 2008 in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. (Photo: ©Jemal Countess/Getty Images/NewsCom)
Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama greets workers at the Gamesa Turbine manufacturing facility on March 11, 2008 in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. (Photo: ©Jemal Countess/Getty Images/NewsCom)

Sixty percent of Mississippi voters said they believe Illinois Senator Barack Obama should be the Democratic nominee in the race for President. New York Senator Hillary Clinton won slightly under 40 percent of the vote in Mississippi's primary on Tuesday. Obama is projected to take 19 of the 33 delegates tied to the Mississippi primary.

Mississippi voters headed to the polls on Tuesday knowing that their votes carried more weight than in previous presidential primaries. The closely contested race between Obama and Clinton also drew a record number of voters to the polls.

More residents voted for a Democrat in this primary election than in previous elections. That fact means that many people who would normally call themselves Republicans voted in the Democratic primary. Mississippi holds an open primary, so voters can choose their political party on election day.

Mississippi is known as a red state, or one that normally votes Republican in general elections. Mississippi has not chosen a Democrat in the general election since Jimmy Carter carried the state in November 1976.

Although Republicans also voted in these elections, that party's nominee has been decided. Senator John McCain of Arizona won enough delegates after Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont voted on March 4 to clinch the nomination.

The race for the Democratic nomination, however, is still close and could go all the way to the Democratic convention in August. Eight states will vote between now and the end of the primary season in June, including Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina, and West Virginia.

Also, another two states, which voted in January against national Democratic Party rules, may vote again. The party has refused to seat delegates from Florida and Michigan as punishment for each state's breaking the rules and holding early primaries. Now that the race between Obama and Clinton is so close, those delegates could be needed to decide a winner, to avoid a divisive convention.

After his decisive Mississippi win, Obama spoke to reporters at CNN. He pointed out that he has won twice as many states as Clinton and will be the party's nominee. He has based his campaign on change.

"What we've tried to do is steadily make sure that in each state we are making the case about the need for change in this country," Obama told reporters after his win. "Obviously, the people in Mississippi responded."

Clinton has argued that she has won big states, such as California and Ohio, that Democrats have to win in a general election to take back the White House from the Republicans. She, too, wants change, but says she has the experience necessary to make it happen.

Obama and Clinton will now take those arguments to Pennsylvania, the battleground for the next six weeks leading up to the primary there on April 22.

MORE FROM SCHOLASTIC KIDS PRESS CORPS

Read all the Scholastic Kid Reporters reports on election action in the "Final Stretch States" here.

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Scholastic Kid Reporters are on the campaign trail. Keep up with the latest election news in this special report.

About the Author

Abigayle Lista is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

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