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Kerry wins close race in Wisconsin

Last updated on: February 18, 2004 11:01 IST

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts won Wisconsin's presidential primary on Tuesday, according to projections.

Kerry, a Vietnam War hero, posted his 15th triumph in 17 contests so far in the race for the right to challenge President George W Bush in November.

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North Carolina Senator John Edwards was a close second; former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, one-time favourite, drew less than half as many votes as Kerry and finished third.

Edwards's second place showing pulled him into a head-to-head showdown with Kerry ahead of the potentially decisive 'Super Tuesday' contests on March 2, when 10 states -- California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont -- go to the polls.

With 73 percent of precincts reporting, Kerry had 39 percent of the vote, just ahead of Edwards with 35 percent.

"I want to thank the state of Wisconsin for moving this cause and this campaign forward tonight, here in this great state," Kerry said.

Edwards, a 50-year-old who made millions as a trial lawyer, said the fight was still on. "Today, the voters of Wisconsin sent a clear message -- the message was this, objects in your mirror may be closer than they appear," he said.

"The people of Wisconsin spoke loudly and clearly today, they want a debate, they want this campaign to continue," he said.

Agencies
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