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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Sen. Kerry wins District caucus

Sen. John Kerry (D. Mass) trounced his opponents in the D.C. caucus Saturday, further solidifying the likelihood that he will be the Democratic challenger to President Bush in the November election.

Winning 48 percent of the votes, Kerry scored a huge victory in a city that overwhelmingly voted for former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean in a non-binding primary last month.

“I want to thank the voters of the District of Columbia for giving me such a wonderful valentine in today’s caucuses,” Kerry said in a press release following the closing of Saturday’s polls. “I am stunned by the results and truly honored and humbled by the confidence that so many voters in Washington, D.C., have shown to me today.”

Kerry also won the Nevada primary Saturday, making him a winner in 14 of 16 states and territories that have held primaries or caucuses.

“Our’s is a national campaign, and today we’ve shown that what unites us as one people is much more powerful than what has divided us during this president’s term and in the years past,” he said.

Dean, whose campaign has suffered a series of setbacks since losing in Iowa and New Hampshire, finished third in Saturday’s primary behind the Rev. Al Sharpton, who garnered about 20 percent of the vote.

Kerry, who skipped the city’s non-binding primary and has never made a campaign appearance in D.C., was able to convince voters that he has the best chance of beating Bush in the November election, said A. Scott Bolden, chairman of the D.C. Democratic Party.

Last month, D.C. flouted Democratic National Committee rules by holding a primary to raise awareness about its lack of congressional representation.

Several frontrunner candidates, including Kerry, opted out of the contest, citing the DNC’s disapproval of a primary that preceded the Iowa caucus.

Bolden said Kerry has supported District residents’ fight to have voting representatives in both houses of Congress even though he refused to participate in the primary.

“His problem is, he speaks well of it but he does less about it,” Bolden said at a caucus celebration Saturday night.

About 3.5 percent of the city’s registered Democratic voters cast ballots Saturday, which Bolden said was consistent with turnouts in primaries across the country. In January, 16 percent of eligible voters participated in the non-binding primary.

Noting that the caucus coincided with Presidents Day Weekend and Valentine’s Day, Bolden said he was pleased with the vote count.

Although Kerry dominated Saturday’s contest, Sharpton and Dean will also be given D.C. delegates.

During the caucus, D.C. Democrats in each ward voted for one of five candidates. The percentage of votes given to each candidate roughly corresponds to the proportion of delegates the District will send in their name to the Democratic National Convention in August. n

Michael Barnett contributed to this report.

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