Illinois Senator Barack Obama overcame an early deficit to narrowly defeat New York Senator Hillary Clinton in Missouri’s Democratic presidential primary. Arizona Senator John McCain also came from behind to overtak e the early lead former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee built to win on the Republican side.
The Republican race was close throughout the evening with Huckabee taking the early lead, McCain close behind and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney trailing not far behind in third. McCain seized the lead late and never relinquished it. With nearly all precincts reporting, the unofficial tally gave 193,908 votes to McCain or 33%. Huckabee finishes with 185,446 votes, 31.5%. Romney garnered 172,205 votes or 29.3%. Texas Congressman Ron Paul finished a distant fourth with only 26,402 votes, 4.5%.
Clinton had a sizeable lead for some time on the Democratic ticket. Obama continued to narrow the gap throughout the night, taking over the lead with a strong showing in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas. Obama edges Clinton 403,343 votes to 394,566; an incredibly tight race as Obama wins with 49.1% of the vote over 48.1% for Clinton.
Though Obama wins the state, the tightness of the race rids him of a big victory. Missouri Democrats will distribute 88 delegates to the Democratic National Convention, 72 on a proportional basis. On the Republican side, McCain’s narrow victory is a big win. Republicans made Missouri a winner-take-all state. McCain gets Missouri’s 58 delegates to the Republican National Convention.