Obama buries Hillary in WA, LA, and NE

Senator Barack Obama won all three Democratic contests on Saturday, sweeping caucuses in Washington State and Nebraska while thumping Hillary Clinton in the Louisiana primary:

While Mr. Obama’s victories were significant, the Democratic Party awards delegates proportionally, so Mrs. Clinton stands to walk away from the contests with a sizable number.

Both campaigns have dug in for a long and fierce delegate fight. The nominating fight now turns to Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, which hold their primaries on Tuesday. Mr. Obama is considered well positioned in those states.
According to the running delegate count at Real Clear Politics, Hillary Clinton still holds a narrow lead in delegates awarded 1121-1106. But 69 delegates have yet to be awarded based on yesterday's results so Senator Obama will almost certainly take his own slight lead.

RCP counts pledged superdelegates as well as delegates awarded based on results from the nominating contests. 

Obama should win the 3 states up for grabs on Tuesday as well. This will cause a change of strategy in the Clinton camp as they will now pick and choose targets over the next month where Hillary has a shot at winning while hoping not to get blown out in the other contests so that they can grab a good share of delegates. The race is all about delegates now and it is vital that Hillary not get too far behind. 

Maine will hold its caucuses today and Clinton is expected to do well. A win won't wipe away Obama's headline grabbing victories on Saturday but it will send a message she's still competitive in the race. The next target for Clinton is Wisconsin on February 19. A big win there will help blunt some Obama momentum while allowing her to harvest a significant number of delegates.

The next month will probably belong mostly to Obama with both candidates pointing to March 4 when Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont hold their nominating contests. It will be at that point that one of the two candidates will be within just a few hundred votes of the 2025 necessary to win the nomination. Pressure will begin mounting on the one trailing to drop out for the sake of party unity.

But with more than 400 Superdelegates yet to declare their preference, neither candidate is likely to heed that call and the battle will continue - perhaps all the way to the convention.