Kerry wins in 5 states

Dan Strumpf

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry solidified his position as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday as Northwestern students paid close attention to primaries and caucuses in seven states.

On the heels of wins in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, Kerry picked up wins in five states: Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota, Missouri and Delaware.

“For the second time in a few days, a New England patriot has won on the road,” Kerry told supporters Tuesday night at a victory party in Seattle. “Now we will carry this campaign and the cause of a stronger, fairer, more prosperous America to every part of America.”

Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina pulled off a strong finish in South Carolina, winning more than 45 percent of the vote in the state where he was born. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark squeaked past Edwards to win Oklahoma’s primary in the evening’s closest contest.

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman dropped out of the race, low on funds and failing to win any races Tuesday.

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, once considered the Democratic front-runner before a surprising third-place finish in Iowa’s Jan. 19 caucus, also did not win any states Tuesday but vowed to continue on in the race.

Some students were able to participate in Tuesday’s primaries without leaving Evanston by filling out an absentee ballot and sending it back to their home state.

“Illinois tends to vote Democrat and Arizona doesn’t,” said absentee voter and Arizona native Amalia Aleck. “I’d rather help in Arizona to bring out the Democratic vote than contribute to what is already going to be on my side here.”

Aleck, a Weinberg senior, decided to vote for Clark. The retired general campaigned heavily in Arizona, where he finished second.

“My little brother’s really involved in his campaign,” she said. “I think Clark is the only person who could beat Bush.”

Other students who were unable to vote Tuesday said they still were pleased with Kerry’s five victories, calling Kerry the most “electable” of the contenders.

“If I had to put together an ideal candidate, I don’t know if he would have all the characteristics that I was looking for,” said Education senior Laura Beres, who volunteered for Kerry in Iowa. “But in terms of the other candidates in the field, I think he’s the best to take the White House from George Bush.”

The Kerry campaign has started reaching out to student volunteers in the Chicago area and has increased activity at its 432 N. Clark St. office, said Victor Barry, a Chicago resident and volunteer. Barry said he expects Kerry to visit Chicago as the Illinois primary on March 16 draws closer, and he urged NU students to get involved.

“We have a good core here,” Barry said. “Chicago has one of the best volunteer organizations for Kerry. We’ve done a huge amount of organization already.”

Students who support Edwards breathed sighs of relief following his victory in South Carolina and strong second-place finishes elsewhere.

“I really have a lot of support for him,” said Lauren Parnell, an Education freshman who volunteered in Iowa for Edwards. Parnell said she met Edwards at a supermarket in Iowa and was impressed with how receptive he was.

Dean was unable to pick up a single win Tuesday, disappointing his backers at NU. A large portion of Dean’s support has come from younger voters, including college students.

Communication junior Erin Mobley praised Dean for speaking his mind and drawing the attention of younger voters.

“I obviously would have liked Dean to come out with stronger support, but I still think he has a chance,” Mobley said. “There are some really hard-core Dean supporters that will stay (with) Dean till the end, and I’m definitely one of them.”

The remaining candidates — Clark, Dean, Edwards, Kerry, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who finished third in South Carolina — now will campaign in the dozen states holding primaries before March 2, the “Super Tuesday” when primaries will occur in 10 states, including California and New York.

Lieberman supporters said they were disheartened after he formally dropped out of the race Tuesday night. Stephen Krupin, a Medill senior who has campaigned for Lieberman at NU, said he now will throw his support behind whoever wins the nomination. For Krupin, as for Beres, beating Bush is the most important goal.

“Just like Lieberman said in his speech, I’m in full support of whoever the nominee might be,” Krupin said. “Kerry at the top of the ticket looks pretty attractive right now.”

Tuesday results

Seven states held primaries or caucuses Tuesday. Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman failed to capture a win, forcing him to drop out.

* Arizona: Kerry

* Delaware: Kerry

* Missouri: Kerry

* New Mexico (caucus): Kerry

* North Dakota (caucus): Kerry

* Oklahoma: Clark

* South Carolina: Edwards

Source: STATE ELECTIONS OFFICIALS