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First Nationwide Primary Results
By Stephan Carney, John Dixon, Crystal McRae, Ellen Mitcham, and Kristen Toliver
Scholastic Student Reporters


John Edwards celebrates his victory in the South Carolina primary with his wife, Elizabeth, and daughter, Cate on election night in Columbia, South Carolina. ( EPA/Tannen Maury)
Wednesday, February 4—Senator John Edwards won big in his own backyard last night, saving his candidacy for yet another primary. He beat his Democratic rivals in the South Carolina primary by a wide margin, and he's staying in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Senator Joe Lieberman, however, bowed out after losing Delaware, the only state he had hoped to gain in yesterday's seven-state primary.

"I know the results are disappointing tonight," Lieberman told supporters at his campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. With his supporters and family around him, however, he concluded, "I've got to tell you, I feel like a winner, and so should you."

The big winner of the night was Senator John Kerry, who took five of the seven states. He scored victories in Missouri, Arizona, Delaware, New Mexico, and North Dakota, solidifying his frontrunner status.

Oklahoma, after a tight race, went to retired General Wesley Clark. Only about 600 voters separated Clark and Edwards. Kerry took 27 percent of the Oklahoma vote for a close second place. In the battle for delegates, Kerry is so far the big leader. The candidate with the most delegates wins the Democratic Party's nomination to run for President.

Howard Dean continued on his downward spiral, coming in third, and sometimes fourth in all seven states. He was considered a frontrunner in nationwide polls only a month ago, but lost his momentum after poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire in January. He wrote off Tuesday's elections to concentrate on Michigan and Washington, which are holding caucuses this Saturday, February 7.

"We're going to have a tough night, but we're going to keep going and going and going like the Energizer bunny," Dean told supporters at an event in Tacoma, Washington.

In the race for delegates, Dean is still a top vote-getter. He has 114 delegates so far to Kerry's 115 delegates. Delegates vote for the candidates at the convention. A candidate needs 2,162 delegates to win the nomination.

Edwards held his election night party at Jillians, a restaurant in Columbia, South Carolina. The North Carolina Senator, who was born in South Carolina, was joined onstage by his parents and supporters. People chanted his name and waved banners as the candidate gave his victory speech.

"Tonight you said that the politics of lifting people up beats the politics of tearing people down," Edwards said, who has prided himself on running a positive campaign. (While the Scholastic Student Reporters were hard at work on this very article, the victorious Senator walked by and shook our hands. He shakes hard!)

Kerry made his victory speech from Washington State, where he has already begun to campaign for Saturday's caucuses.

"Now we carry this campaign and the cause of a stronger, fairer, more prosperous America to all parts of our country," Kerry said in Seattle. "We will take nothing for granted. We will compete everywhere, and in November we will win."