(dpa) - Senators Hillary Clinton and John McCain won their parties' presidential primaries in California on Tuesday, television networks projected based on preliminary results.
California, the largest state among the more than 20 states casting votes in presidential nominating contests Tuesday, is considered a major prize for the candidates vying to represent their parties in November 4 general elections.
The state awards 441 delegates to the Democratic convention in August that formally decides the party's candidate. On the Republican side 176 delegates are up for grabs for their convention in September.
McCain, a senator from Arizona and a Vietnam War veteran known for his vocal support of the war in Iraq, had gained steam as the Republican frontrunner ahead of Super Tuesday and was leading in most states in the voting.
"We still have a ways to go, but we're much closer to the victory we've worked so hard to achieve," McCain, 71, told cheering supporters in his home state of Arizona. "I am confident we will get there."
Clinton took California in part on her strong showing among Hispanic and Asian voters.
According to CNN exit polls, Latino voters, who account for 29 per cent of registered Democrats, backed Clinton over rival Barack Obama by 66 per cent to 33 per cent. The former first lady did even better among Asian immigrants, with 75 per cent of the vote compared to Obama's 25 per cent.
However both white and black voters strongly backed Obama, an African American. White voters gave him 49 per cent support versus 43 per cent for Clinton. Black voters backed Obama over Clinton by 73 per cent to 25 per cent.