Obama, Huckabee take southern giant Georgia

Other News Materials 6 February 2008 08:37 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee won their parties' respective presidential primaries in Georgia, the largest southern state to vote on Tuesday.

Obama scored a decisive victory ahead of rival Hillary Clinton, winning 63 per cent to Clinton's 34 per cent, with 87 per cent of precincts reporting.

Huckabee took one of the tightest races of the night on the Republican side. The former Arkansas governor led the field with 34 per cent of the vote, ahead of Senator John McCain with 32 per cent and former governor Mitt Romney with 29 per cent.

Georgia was the third-largest prize among the 21 states voting for their preferred Republican nominees Tuesday, sending 72 delegates to the party's nominating convention in September.

Huckabee has been running a strong third in national polls behind frontrunner McCain and Romney, but had staked his continued campaign on winning key states in his native South.

An ordained Baptist minister, Huckabee has appealed strongly to social conservatives especially across the Southern states known as the Bible Belt.

For Democrats, 103 delegates were at stake - the sixth largest number among 22 states voting Tuesday.

Obama, hoping to become the first African-American president, had been expected to win in Georgia. The Illinois senator won neighbouring South Carolina last month by a 2-1 margin ahead of Clinton.

About 50 per cent of Tuesday's voters in Georgia were expected to be African-American. Nearly 90 per cent of them picked Obama, but 39 per cent of whites also voted for him - a sharp increase from South Carolina - according to exit polls from CNN.