Posted: June 3, 2008 9:09 PM
With S.D. Votes Still Being Counted, Obama Captures Delegate Majority
Democratic Presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama captured the majority of his party’s delegates needed for the nomination Tuesday night as he garnered the support of at least four delegates from South Dakota, joining the dozens of super delegates that announced their endorsements during the final moments of the Democratic primary season.
The Illinois senator will likely face presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain in November’s general election. Tuesday night, McCain wasted no time in taking direct aim at his probable opponent before Obama officially reached the critical delegate milestone.
“I have a few years on my opponent, so I am surprised that a young man has bought in to so many failed ideas,” McCain said to supporters during a speech in New Orleans, La. “Like others before him, he seems to think government is the answer to every problem; that government should take our resources and make our decisions for us. That type of change doesn’t trust Americans to know what is right or what is in their own best interests.”
Even as McCain spoke, the media networks cut away to project Obama had surpassed the number of delegates needed to garner the nomination. Despite reaching the majority number, his number relied on the support of a series of who remain officially uncommitted until they vote at this summer’s convention, meaning Obama will remain only the presumptive nominee until then.
Obama, who kicked off the primary season on Jan. 3 with a win in Iowa, faced an extended battle with Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Clinton, and Tuesday marked the exact midpoint between the Iowa caucuses and November’s general election vote.
Major news organizations such as the Associated Press predicted early Tuesday that Obama had defeated Democratic rival Senator Clinton to clinch the nomination, and also reported Clinton would concede to her opponent. The Clinton campaign immediately rejected such claims.
News of Obama’s milestone came while votes in South Dakota were still being counted. In South Dakota, where polls closed at 9 p.m. ET, exit polls showed Clinton with a slight lead. Voting in Montana will close at 10 p.m., and Obama held a strong lead in early polls.