California Goes to Bush and Gore
(CNSNews.com) - In what turned out to be a "Super Tuesday" for Texas Governor George W Bush and Vice President Al Gore, each continued their winning ways by picking up a goldmine of delegates in California.
Bush took all 162 California GOP delegates, as he won about 60 percent of the vote to John McCain's 35 percent and Alan Keyes' 4 percent. Bush described his victory as "good news from sea to shining sea. We were challenged and we met the challenge. We were tested and we met the test...tonight we have a national victory."
The governor interpreted his victory as a mandate from Republican voters to lead the Party in the general election and "end the era of Clinton-Gore."
Bush is more than halfway to having enough delegates to win the GOP nomination. He's expected to clinch the nomination in next week's contests, which include his home state of Texas and his brother's home state of Florida.
McCain is taking a few days off to reassess where he goes from here, and according to Wednesday morning news reports, he may drop out of the Republican presidential race as early as Thursday. Tuesday night, McCain released a statement thanking his supporters on the East Coast, where he won Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. McCain was unable to pull out victories in any of the three delegate-rich states of New York, Ohio and California.
In a later concession speech, McCain urged the GOP to become a more inclusive party. He said his crusade for campaign finance reform will continue, and he said he would withdraw from the race if he feels he is hurting the Republican Party. In private, McCain has said he will not run on a third party ticket because he is a loyal Republican.
Gore made it a clean sweep over Bradley, winning all eleven Democrat primaries and picking up all the 367 California delegates.
In the popular vote or 'beauty contest', Gore won a direct matchup with Bush. With 51 percent of the precincts reporting by early Wednesday morning, Gore had 34 percent of the popular vote, ahead of Bush with 29 percent and McCain with 23 percent.
Exit polls in California show Gore took nearly nine out of ten black and Hispanic votes and more than seven in ten white votes. Exit polls show veterans preferred Bush.
California voters also approved Proposition 22, which declares that only a marriage between a man and woman is valid and recognized in California by over 50 percent.
Robert Glazier of 'Yes on 22' told CNSNews.com, "We're ecstatic that the state of California has decided that marriage is worth defending after all."
T.J. Conotee of "No on Knight" told CNSNews.com that the organization might consider launching a legal challenge to the initiative's passage. "We're exploring all the options but this fight is definitely not over."
Senior Staff Writer Justin Torres also contributed to this report.