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Kerry secures primary in Wisconsin

Associated Press

John Kerry stuck to his winning ways Tuesday, but barely. John Edwards finished a surprisingly close second in Wisconsin, establishing himself as the front-runner’s sole rival as the Democratic presidential race thundered toward a 10-state showdown March 2.

Howard Dean trailed far behind, winless in 17 contests, his candidacy doomed less than a month after he stood atop the Democratic field, only to fall swiftly as voters had their say in Iowa, New Hampshire and beyond.Close race or not, Kerry said, “A win is a win.”

Edwards, his dream of a head-to-head matchup now a reality, declared, “We’ll go full-throttle to the next group of states.”

He pledged to campaign in each of the 10 states holding primaries or caucuses March 2, including California, New York and Ohio, and awarding 1,151 delegates, more than half the total needed to claim the nomination.

The North Carolina lawmaker’s breakout was fueled by the highest Republican turnout of the primary season and voters who made their decision in the last week. His deepest support was in the GOP suburbs of Milwaukee.