OT: McCain Wins Mich., Ariz. Primaries

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McCain Wins Mich., Ariz. Primaries

link: http://www.newsday.com/ap/rnmpne04.htm


By WALTER R. MEARS AP Special Correspondent

Sen. John McCain, rearmed by a double victory over Gov. George W. Bush, claimed ``a new majority'' for his presidential cause and urged Republican regulars to join him -- not fear his reach for Democratic and independent voters. An unflinching Bush said he will still win the nomination.

Bush tried to ease the blow of his defeat in battleground Michigan by noting he ``won overwhelmingly'' among Republican voters, who were narrowly outnumbered in their own primary, which McCain captured with votes from independents and Democrats.

McCain also won at home in Arizona by a landslide.

On ABC's ``Good Morning America'' today, McCain said he was ``a bit awed'' by the Michigan turnout and now will concentrate on convincing fellow Republicans he is conservative and electable.

Bush declared, ``I'm going to be the Republican nominee,'' and said independents who voted for McCain would support him in November.

``The real question is when I'm the nominee will I be able to pick those independents up?'' Bush said on NBC's ``Today.'' ``And I believe I will be. There's a lot of people that are sick and tired of what's going on in Washington, D.C. They want something different.''

The victorious challenger and the hobbled front-runner turned today to the West Coast contests just ahead. McCain was campaigning in Washington state, which holds another open-to-all GOP primary next Tuesday; Bush was in California, the biggest prize of the March 7 primaries.

At an airport rally in Burbank, Calif., late Tuesday, Bush said that while he didn't win, the good news is that he dominated the Republican vote in Michigan. He suggested his popularity among the party faithful would spell trouble for McCain in the contests still to come.

``I want to congratulate my opponent for a race well run, but he's going to learn in the long run that it's Republicans and like-minded independents who are going to make the decision in the Republican primaries,'' Bush said.

Celebrating his victories, McCain set about rebutting Bush's argument that he's building his victories outside the GOP, among voters who likely will abandon him in November.

``I am a proud Reagan conservative,'' McCain said. ``I love the Republican Party. It is my home ... We are creating a new majority, my friends. A McCain majority.

``As I look more electable, we'll start drawing more Republicans,'' McCain said.

McCain's victories earned him all 30 delegates from Arizona and at least 46 of the 58 at stake in Michigan -- enough to assume the lead in the race for national delegates. Although Bush gained at least six delegates Tuesday, he only had 67 delegates to date; McCain had 90.

--In Michigan, with 97 percent of the precincts counted, McCain had 610,588 votes, or 50 percent, and Bush had 519,880 votes, or 43 percent. Alan Keyes had 5 percent.

--In Arizona, with 83 percent of the precincts counted, McCain had 174,921 votes, or 60 percent, and Bush had 104,199 votes, or 36 percent. Keyes had 4 percent.

Bush expected momentum going into Michigan after his 11-point beating of McCain in South Carolina, but it wasn't enough. Nor was the aggressive backing of Michigan Gov. John Engler, who had promised a firewall for Bush, but may have stirred a damaging backlash against his candidate.

``What a difference a couple of days makes,'' McCain said Tuesday at his victory rally in Phoenix. Saturday night, he had angrily, acidly conceded South Carolina to Bush.

Now it was the Texas governor's turn.

``To those Washington politicians who try to divide us into boxes and pit us against each other, I say shame on you,'' Bush said, bitter over McCain campaign calls to Michigan Catholics suggesting that Bush had played to anti-Catholics in South Carolina.

After campaigning in Washington state, McCain planned to spend seven of the next 12 days in California. His strategists decided to raise the stakes a bit in Virginia's GOP primary next Tuesday, expecting a Bush victory but trying to make inroads with advertising in suburban areas outside Washington, D.C. Bush will be stiffening his stand in Virginia and raising his profile in Washington.

``Now, on to California, on to New York, on to Virginia, on to Washington and on to victory,'' McCain said. The latter two are the warmups. There also are Republican caucuses in North Dakota next Tuesday. But the main event is March 7, with 613 Republican nominating delegates at stake in 13 states -- just short of 60 percent of the 1,034 it will take to choose the GOP nominee.

There are several open primaries ahead, likely to McCain's advantage. California's primary is not limited to Republicans, although only their votes will count toward awarding delegates.

In Michigan, slightly more than half of the votes were cast by independents or Democrats, and they were overwhelmingly for McCain. Bush won two-thirds of the Republican vote, McCain matched that among independents, and took 80 percent of the ballots cast by Democrats. Exit polls by Voter News Service, a consortium of The Associated Press and the television networks, showed that Democrats accounted for 20 percent of the primary vote.

-- (kb8um8@yahoo.com), February 23, 2000


He's going to be the Republican nominee and eventually, the next President-or he'll split the party irrevocably. Beware. He's not what he appears to be.

With the stupidity, ineptitude and general myopia exhibited by the Republican Party leadership to date, I could easily see a "civil war" develop. One that would finish the party as a force in politics for the next 50 years. Can you imagine the celebratory parties the Democrats would hold?

-- chairborne commando (what-me-worry@armageddon.com), February 23, 2000.

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