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Bush, Gore Post Wins in 2 Western Primaries

March 11, 2000|From Associated Press

DENVER — Democratic Vice President Al Gore and Republican Texas Gov. George W. Bush scored overwhelming victories Friday in Colorado and Utah primary voting.

The two Western primaries, along with GOP county conventions plus a straw poll in Wyoming, are the remnants of a failed attempt to gain clout for Rocky Mountain and Western states in the nomination of presidents. Gov. Mike Leavitt of Utah tried to engineer a nine-state combination, but couldn't.

As the campaign turned out, it would have been too late anyhow, with Republican challenger Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Democrat Bill Bradley both out of the race.

In Colorado and Utah, Gore and Bush won predictable landslides.

McCain and Bradley, the former senator from New Jersey, each stood to gain a handful of delegates since they were awarded in proportion to the popular vote.

With 99% of the Colorado precincts reporting, Bush had 65% of the vote, McCain garnered 27% and Alan Keyes drew 7%. Bush was leading for 28 delegates, McCain for 12.

Gore was polling 71% of the Democratic vote to 24% for Bradley. Gore won 44 Democratic delegates to seven for Bradley.

In Utah, with 87% of precincts reporting, Bush was polling 64%, Keyes 21%, and McCain 14%. Even a distant second place would be Keyes' best outing of the season. Bush got all 29 GOP delegates in Utah.

For the Democrats, Gore had 78% of the vote to Bradley's 22%. Gore won 16 delegates to Bradley's two, with six yet to be allocated.

Keyes, a former diplomat, says he will keep campaigning despite the certainty of Bush's nomination. He said it is a myth that politics should be about winning.

The Wyoming GOP conventions did not bind the 22 delegates there, but there was little doubt they would be Bush's.

Bush went into Friday's primaries with 617 of the 1,034 delegates needed to win the nomination.

Gore had 1,479; it takes 2,170 to install the Democratic nominee.

The primary outcome was forgone before a vote was cast.

Nonetheless, Leavitt said it was worth the effort. "The voice of the West will be heard," the governor, a Bush supporter, said after voting in Salt Lake City.

Few seemed interested. At one Salt Lake City polling place, only five people cast ballots during the first hour and 45 minutes. "Nobody cares," said Clayton Hurst, an election judge.

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