Tennessee: Clinton wins, GOP too close

February 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Women voters helped Hillary Rodham Clinton win the Democratic primary in Tennessee on Tuesday, while the Republican race remained too close to call.A majority of voters in the Democratic primary were white and women, and Clinton ran strongly in both demographics, according to exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks.

The New York senator's victory over Illinois Sen. Barack Obama followed Tennessee wins by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who twice carried the Volunteer State with favorite son Al Gore as his running mate.

"I thought the Clinton days were great, and I want them back," said Daniel Casey, a 51-year-old salesman in Nashville who voted for Clinton.

On the Republican side, returns from 10 percent of precincts showed Arizona Sen. John McCain with nearly 34 percent of the vote, followed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 29 percent and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 22 percent.

The state's Republican vote had been expected to go to former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, but he dropped out of the race two weeks before Super Tuesday.

Several of the candidates made stops in the Volunteer State in the days before the primary.

Huckabee visited Chattanooga and Blountville while Romney stopped at a popular Nashville pancake restaurant Monday, both touting their conservative credentials. McCain campaigned in Nashville on Saturday night.

Clinton's campaign was kicked off by her husband, the former president, and she followed that up with two stops late last month. She had her daughter Chelsea meet supporters Sunday in Nashville.

Obama didn't visit the state after June, but his foreign policy adviser visited Tennessee State University Monday and other surrogates held last-minute campaign events.

Both Democrats ran TV ads in some of the state's major markets.

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