[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 February, 2004, 20:07 GMT
Democrats seek Southern showdown
Wesley Clark prepares to flip pancakes in Memphis, Tennessee
Clark has already moved his campaign to Tennessee
Democrat presidential hopefuls John Edwards and Wesley Clark are looking ahead to the next votes in the South.

The two Southerners in the race believe next week's primaries in Tennessee and Virginia offer their best hope to catch frontrunner John Kerry, analysts say.

Mr Kerry won five of the "Super Seven" states on Tuesday but is yet to prove he can win in the key area.

Supporters of Mr Edwards and Mr Clark say no Democrat can beat George W Bush without substantial Southern support.

This weekend sees caucus gatherings in Maine, Michigan and Washington where polls suggest the senator from Massachusetts, Mr Kerry, will win.

Click on state for a profile:

North Carolina Senator Edwards and Mr Clark - who calls himself "an old soldier from Arkansas" - are mostly staying away from the vote there to make their choice for party candidate to concentrate on the South.

"I think that Tennessee and Virginia... come next," Mr Edwards said after his resounding win in his native South Carolina.

The BBC's Rob Watson said Mr Edwards' "Super Seven" showing establishes him as the main challenger to the Massachusetts senator who's yet to dispel those doubts over whether he can win in the South.

'Large role'

But Chris Lehane, a top campaign strategist for Mr Clark who narrowly beat Mr Edwards in Oklahoma, told the Reuters news agency that his candidate was still in the race.

The state "will play a large role in who gets to go forward between Edwards and Clark" to see who would become "an alternative to Kerry", he said.

Kerry: 42.6%
Clark: 26.8%
Kerry: 50.5%,
Lieberman: 11.1%
Kerry: 50.5%,
Edwards: 25.4%
New Mexico
Kerry: 41.3%
Clark: 20.9%
North Dakota
Kerry: 50%
Clark: 24%
Clark: 29.9%
Edwards: 29.5%
South Carolina
Edwards: 45%,
Kerry: 30.2%
Results based on 75% of returns and above
If Mr Edwards continues to do well - but not well enough to take the lead - it could also strengthen his chances to become the vice-presidential running mate, correspondents say.

Mr Kerry, for his part, has been insisting that he can win across the country.

After coming first in Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, New Mexico and North Dakota, he told supporters: "Now we will carry this campaign and the cause of a stronger, fairer, more prosperous America to every part of America."

Erstwhile frontrunner Howard Dean has vowed to stay in the race and has been courting support in Washington state which he has said will be a "turning point".

But the former Vermont governor is already said to be looking forward to the 17 February primary in the industrial state of Wisconsin and beyond.

"We can fight all the way through Super Tuesday and we plan to do that," Mr Dean said, in a reference to 2 March when Democratic voters in big states like New York and California select a challenger.

"It's a very long race."

Chart showing numbers of delegates won by each Democratic presidential candidate
Most delegates who vote for a candidate at the national presidential nominating convention are allocated according to a candidate's support in state-wide caucuses or polls; some delegates are assigned for party leaders and elected officials to allocate.

The BBC's Matt Frei
"[John Kerry has] bundles of cash and a credible character"

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific