In Other Election News...

The brutally long three-ring endorsement meeting Monday of the South Austin Democrats, Texas Environmental Democrats, and Capital Area Progressive Democrats was missing a key ingredient: a timekeeper! Candidates rambled forth, and the assembled panel asked the same dull questions. In the end, the Capital Dems could reach a two-thirds vote on only three races; their official endorsements went to U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett in Congressional District 25; Stephen Yelenosky in the 345th District Court race; and incumbent Precinct 4 Constable Maria Canchola. The SAD and TED each also endorsed those three, plus Greg Hamilton for sheriff, Gisela Triana for the 200th District Court, Nancy Hohengarten for County Court at Law No. 5, and incumbent Precinct 1 Constable Luke Mercer. SAD also endorsed constable hopeful Richard McCain in Precinct 3. The two groups split in the Travis Co. Commissioner Precinct 1 race, with SAD going for Celia Israel and TED offering a dual endorsement of Israel and incumbent Ron Davis. More Democratic club forums took place Wednesday as the Chronicle went to press. – Amy Smith

The Democratic presidential campaign sorted itself out a bit on Tuesday, as John Kerry won five of the seven states holding primaries or caucuses: Arizona (43%), Delaware (50%), Missouri (51%), New Mexico (41%), and North Dakota (50%). In what may prefigure a Southern showdown for Kerry, Wesley Clark won Oklahoma with 30% of the vote, and John Edwards won South Carolina (as he said he must to continue his campaign) with 45%. The relatively high percentages of Kerry's wins were as impressive as the victories, as he builds momentum in the coming weeks, pointing toward Super Tuesday on March 2. (In the wake of congressional redistricting, Texas Dems will not vote this year until March 9, after the race is likely to be decided.) Howard Dean – with less ability to mount a comeback after blowing his fortune on Iowa and New Hampshire – continued to falter, though he remains second to Kerry in delegate count, followed by Edwards and Clark. Dean insisted that he is focusing on upcoming contests in the Midwest and Washington state. Joe Lieberman – who hadn't lost an election since 1980 – trailed badly everywhere, as he had last week in New Hampshire, and finally threw in the towel Tuesday night. Al Sharpton – who only got 20% of the black vote in South Carolina, yet placed third with 10% of the total – and Dennis Kucinich, still in the single digits, vowed to fight on. – Michael King

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