Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama split victories on the biggest day of voting in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Clinton won Arkansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma and Tennessee, while Obama took Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and Utah, according to projections from television networks and the Associated Press.
Voters in 22 states participated in today's Democratic nominating contests; results are still being tallied. New York, Illinois and California are among the day's biggest prizes, though a candidate can take a portion of the delegates in any state without winning the contest there outright.
With the vote so closely matched, officials in both campaigns say they expect the battle for the nomination to extend beyond today's Super Tuesday balloting. Obama, an Illinois senator, and Clinton, a New York senator, had each won two of the four contested elections before today.
Obama, 46, who is vying to become the nation's first black president, was doing the best among African-American voters, men and voters under the age of 50, according to exit polls cited by MSNBC.
Obama got 80 percent of the black vote nationwide, compared with 17 percent for Clinton, according to the exit polls. Among whites, Clinton led 51 percent to 44 percent. Obama got 53 percent of men to Clinton's 42 percent. Clinton led among women who made up 57 percent of Democratic voters today, 51 percent to 46 percent, MSNBC said.
Sen. John McCain swept a string of delegate-rich, East Coast primaries Tuesday night, reaching for command of the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama traded victories in an epic struggle from Connecticut to California.
The former first lady said, "I look forward to continuing our campaign and our debate about how to leave this country better off for the next generation."
McCain, the early Republican front-runner whose campaign nearly unraveled six months ago, won in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware to gain all 198 delegates at stake there. He also put Illinois and Oklahoma in his column.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won a series of Bible Belt victories, in Alabama and Georgia as well as his own home state. He also triumphed at the Republican West Virginia convention, and told The Associated Press in an interview he would campaign on. "The one way you can't win a race is to quit it, and until somebody beats me, I'm going to answer the bell for every round of this fight," he said.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, won a home state victory. He also took Utah, where fellow Mormons supported his candidacy. He, too, breathed defiance. "We're going to go all the way to the convention. We're going to win this thing," he told supporters in Boston.
Democrats played out a historic struggle between Clinton, seeking to become the first female president and Obama, hoping to become the first black to win the White House.
Clinton won at home in New York as well as in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Arkansas, where she was first lady for more than a decade. She also won the caucuses in American Samoa.
In today's West Virginia Republican State Convention, Republican candidate Ron Paul's campaign secured three of the 18 national delegates up for grabs.
"Our goal is to secure as many delegates to the national GOP convention in
Minneapolis-St. Paul as possible," said Ron Paul 2008 campaign manager Lew Moore. "Securing three delegates in West Virginia is an important step in that direction. We plan on locking up more delegates before the day ends."
In an agreement first reported by West Virginia television station WSAZ, the three
Ron Paul delegates were secured through an agreement with the Mike Huckabee campaign.
Ron Paul delegates to the state convention swung their support to Huckabee --putting Huckabee over the top - after Congressman Paul was eliminated in the first round of voting. With three national delegates, Ron Paul secured 20 percent of the 18 delegates that were decided at the State Convention.