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Clinton Wins in Missouri; GOP Race Close
AP Photo: Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., points to supporters at her Super Tuesday..

Propelled largely by rural voters, Democrat Hillary Clinton won the important presidential testing ground of Missouri on Feb.5. Republicans Mike Huckabee and John McCain were in a tight battle for a rich delegate reward.

Clinton had about 50 percent of the vote compared with about 47 percent for rival Barack Obama, with 88 percent of Missouri's precincts reporting.

The Associated Press declared the New York senator the winner based on a review of actual vote results, exit polling and an analysis of outstanding precincts.

Clinton carried most of the state, doubling and even tripling the Illinois senator's vote totals in some rural, predominantly white counties. Obama kept the race close by racking up leads in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas, home to many of Missouri's black voters and among the last areas to report results.

Mechanic Byron Fulkerson, 56, of Columbia, voted for Clinton. He was among those declaring the economy the big issue.

"They all have a bunch of blah blah blah talk, but she has the most experience and knows how to get around Washington," Fulkerson said.

Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, and McCain, an Arizona senator, were essentially even. Each had about 32.5 percent of the vote with 88 percent of precincts reporting results. But most of the outstanding votes were in the St. Louis area, were McCain was faring better than Huckabee.

The Republican statewide winner receives all 58 Missouri delegates to the national convention.

Although Clinton had more statewide votes, she was likely to split Missouri's 72 delegates with Obama. Delegates are awarded proportionally, based partly on the statewide results and partly on congressional district results.

All five leading Democratic and Republican candidates made weekend campaign stops in Missouri leading up to the primary. Prospective voters were targeted repeatedly with telephone calls and TV ads.

Missouri is considered a bellwether state because its voters have come down on the side of the winner in every presidential election except one in the past 100 years. In 1956, Missourians narrowly chose Democrat Adlai Stevenson of neighboring Illinois instead of Republican President Dwight Eisenhower.(AP)






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