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Obama wins Mississippi primary; Texas caucus win estimated

  • Story Highlights
  • Mississippi Democrats divide on racial lines, exit polls indicate
  • Obama wins Mississippi by a wide margin
  • Obama comes in first in Texas caucuses
  • Mississippi Secretary of State's Office reports light to moderate turnout

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(CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama claimed victory by a wide margin over Sen. Hillary Clinton in Mississippi's Democratic primary Tuesday.

Sen. Barack Obama claimed a big victory in Mississippi's Democratic primary.

"What we've tried to do is steadily make sure that in each state we are making the case about the need for change in this country. Obviously the people in Mississippi responded," Obama told CNN after his win.

Mississippi had 33 pledged delegates up for grabs, which will be allocated proportionally.

With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Obama had 61 percent of the vote, compared with Clinton's 37 percent.

The state's Democratic voters were sharply divided among racial lines, exit polls indicated. Video Watch what the results mean »

As has been the case in many primary states, Obama won overwhelming support from African-American voters. They went for him over Clinton 91-9 percent. See the results

The state has a larger proportion of African-Americans (36 percent, according to the 2000 census) than any other state in the country. And black voters make up nearly 70 percent of registered Democrats.

But Mississippi white voters overwhelmingly backed the New York senator, supporting her over Obama 72 percent to 21 percent.

According to The Associated Press, only two other primary states were as racially polarized -- neighboring Alabama, and Clinton's former home state of Arkansas.

The exit polls also indicated roughly 40 percent of Mississippi Democratic voters said race was an important factor in their vote, and 90 percent of those voters supported Obama.

In Ohio, roughly one in five voters said race factored into their decision. About 60 percent of those voters picked Clinton over Obama.

Clinton's campaign issued a statement congratulating Obama on his win, and said they "look forward to campaigning in Pennsylvania and around the country as this campaign continues." CNN's political team weighs in on the results »

Pennsylvania is the next battleground for the Democrats. It holds its primary April 22 and has 158 delegates at stake.

Obama also finished first in the Texas Democratic caucuses. The caucuses were held last week, but the race was not called until Tuesday night. Video Watch Obama talk about his win »

Obama will get more delegates out of the state than Clinton, who won the state's primary.

Under the Texas Democratic Party's complex delegate selection plan, Texas voters participated in both a primary and caucuses last week.

Two-thirds of the state's 193 delegates were at stake at the primary, while the remaining third were decided by the caucuses.

Obama leads Clinton in the overall delegate count 1,597-1,470, but neither candidate is close to the 2,025 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination.

Between 125,000 and 150,000 voters were expected to cast ballots Tuesday, according to Pamela Weaver of the Mississippi Secretary of State's Office.

While the number would represent a 25 to 50 percent increase in turnout from the 2004 primaries, Weaver still described the voting rate as light to moderate.

Obama touched on the Mississippi Delta's economic struggles during a final campaign stop in Greenville, Mississippi, according to the AP.

"We just haven't seen as much opportunity come to this area as we'd like," he told those gathered at a restaurant, the AP reported. "And one of the challenges, I think, for the next president is making sure that we're serving all communities and not just some communities."

Obama campaigned in Mississippi on Monday and spent part of Tuesday doing the same, while rival Clinton made a swing through the state on Thursday and Friday.

In addition, former President Bill Clinton made the rounds for his wife in Mississippi over the weekend.


For Mississippi, it's a moment to bask in the national spotlight. And for a state with images of a strictly segregated past, the Democratic primary is a chance to alter some long held stereotypes.

"We're seeing a contest where I think you're going to see a huge turnout of voters voting either for a woman or an African-American, and that gives us a chance to make a statement," said Marty Wiseman, a professor of political science at Mississippi State University. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Paul Steinhauser, Robert Yoon, Alexander Mooney and Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

All About Barack ObamaHillary ClintonU.S. Presidential Election

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