Hillary Clinton wins California Democratic primary | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Hillary Clinton wins California Democratic primary

Laura Kurtzman, Associated Press Writer
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaDemocratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., reacts at her Super Tuesday primary night rally in New York Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008.

LOS ANGELES (AP) ” Hillary Rodham Clinton won the Democratic presidential primary in California, a state closely identified with her husband’s eight-year presidency.

Clinton had 54.8 percent to 32.6 percent, for Barack Obama with 16 percent of precincts reporting tonight.

Voter exit polls by The Associated Press showed Clinton receiving strong support from women and Hispanics and voters in the San Francisco Bay area.

California voters displayed a marked gender gap, with women favoring Clinton and men leaning toward Obama, according to the surveys.

More than 6 in 10 Hispanics favored Clinton in the exit survey, while nearly 8 in 10 black voters favored Obama.

Clinton had a built-in advantage because of her husband’s presidency and she maintained a wide lead in pre-election polls until the final week of the race.

Hispanic voters, in particular, have fond memories of Bill Clinton. Many, such as Erendida Vargas, cast their first ballots during his eight years as president.

Vargas, a 32-year-old housekeeper from Los Angeles, said gender politics also played a role in her decision to vote again for a Clinton.

“She’s great, and she is going to be the first woman president,” Vargas said. “Everything men do, we can do it, too, so we have to show everybody we can do it, too.”

Other voters said they chose Clinton over Obama because they thought she was better prepared to become president.

“I believe she’s going in with wide eyes,” said John Freiman, 42, of Oakland. “She understands the problems and how to solve them.”

But James Gottfurcht, a 60-year-old psychologist from Los Angeles, said Obama seemed like the better leader.

“I experience him as genuine and natural,” he said. “Whereas, Hillary I see as slick and polished, more of a politician and part of the establishment.”

He said was also skeptical about having Bill Clinton back in the White House.

Clinton and Obama waged the liveliest race California has seen in 40 years for the Democratic nomination for president.

Each staked a claim to making history: she as the first woman and he as the first black man to become the party’s nominee.

Developing …

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