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February 9, 2004
Kerry Takes Maine, Edwards Trails Kucinich -- Again

In yesterday's Maine caucuses, John Kerry again led the Democratic hopefuls, this time winning 45%-26% over Howard Dean:

With 50% of the statewide vote tabulated, Kerry had 45% of the vote. Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, had 26%, and Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, making his strongest showing to date, had 15%. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark of Arkansas, neither of whom had focused on Maine, finished a distant fourth and fifth. ... His success in Maine pushed his total to 426, compared with Dean's 184, according to Associated Press. The votes of 2,161 delegates are needed to win the party's presidential nomination at the July convention in Boston.

Dean, who didn't spend much time in Maine, scored his second runner-up finish of the weekend, while both John Edwards and Wes Clark finished out of the money in all three contests. Not only that, but the two sons of the South aren't putting up much of a fight south of the Mason-Dixon line, either: polls in both Tennessee and Virginia show Kerry with double-digit leads over both men, who are irrelevant if they can't take a Southern primary against a Massachussets Democrat.

Howard Dean still can't see reality, as he told CBS' Face the Nation that he recognized Kerry's momentum and that people liked to back a frontrunner -- something he no doubt recalls from just a couple of months ago -- but that he doesn't think that he's got plenty of time to stop Kerry:

Still, Dean rejected intimations by host Bob Schieffer that his campaign was on the brink of extinction. He added: "At some point here … people will say, 'Now wait a minute here, let's really have a close look at this.' "

Dean's correct, but unfortunately, that point will probably be in October. Despite improving to second in two caucuses, Dean's campaign can be described in an old Saturday Night Live line -- valiantly hanging on in its fight to remain dead. Dean's publicly pinned his hoped on Wisconsin's primary, where he trails Kerry by 40 points with eight days to go. Perhaps after that, reality might finally crash in on Loud Howard.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 9, 2004 6:29 AM

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