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McCain and Obama Plow Ahead

The Potomac Primaries -- Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia -- were one-sided contests last night. Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) increased his advantage on the Republican side by winning three winner-take-all states, while Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.) moved into the delegate lead with his wins for the Democrats.

McCain continues to play out the endgame on former Gov. Mike Huckabee. According to CNN, McCain crushed Huckabee in the District of Columbia, 68% to 17%, and similarly dominated in Maryland, 55% to 29%. Virginia proved a closer contest, 50% to 41%. In total, McCain collected another 89 delegates.

Huckabee collected zero delegates on the night. Repeated calls have gone out from corners of the Republican Party for him to pull out of the race. The most recent calls came from Gov. Rick Perry (R., Tex.). Texas happens to loom large on the primary calendar for March 4 with 140 delegates up for grabs.

Huckabee enjoys saying he "believes in miracles," but he continues to trail Mitt Romney, who pulled out of the race last week and would need to score 80% of the remaining delegates to beat McCain. It's over for Huckabee. It's true that he continues to raise his visibility traveling the country, but he risks annoying party elites and regulars who want to unify behind McCain.

The Democratic Party remains far from being unified. Obama continued his winning streak, having won all of the contests in the last week, and according to CNN, he has now narrowly taken the lead in both pledged delegates (though not all states have chosen them yet) and superdelegates, 1,215 to 1,190.

Polls had him heavily favored in the all three contests, and he won them handily, defeating Sen. Clinton (D., N.Y.) in the District of Columbia, 75% to 24%, in Maryland, 60% to 37%, and in Virginia, 64% to 35%. Exit polls had him doing well in every voter demographic, including winning the women vote.

While speaking last night in Wisconsin about his win, Obama said:

"But we also know that at this moment the cynics can no longer say our hope is false. We have now won east and west, north and south, and across the heartland of this country we love. We have given young people a reason to believe, and brought folks back to the polls who want to believe again."

Interestingly, he mentioned President Bush and McCain but no mention of his opponent -- Hillary Clinton.

The Clinton campaign had seemingly expected to lose these contests. Sen. Clinton spent election evening campaigning in Texas -- one of the states that represents her best hope to win the race on March 4. Ohio holds it primary the same day and Clinton may need to sweep those two and win big in Pennsylvania on Apr. 22 to secure the nomination.

Clinton has reorganized her campaign this week to ready for this push into March and April. Patti Solis-Doyle had stepped aside to allow for Maggie Williams to take over running the campaign. Clinton's Deputy Campaign Manager, Mike Henry, resigned Tuesday following the shuffle.

The next Democratic primary contests will be held next Tuesday in Wisconsin and Hawaii.

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