Michael Dukakis has a quarter of the delegates needed to win the Democratic presidential nomination, but Jesse Jackson is right behind after a weekend of good showings for both Democrats in Kansas, Texas and Puerto Rico. Among Republicans, George Bush swept to victory No. 23.
Democratic candidates turned their attention to Michigan, where caucuses Saturday offer the next big delegate prize of the season.Rep. Richard Gephardt leads the parade into the state Monday, talking with auto executives and steel workers as he works for the victory he must have here to rescue his campaign.
"What does it profit this nation to conquer Grenada if we are losing the auto industries of Pontiac, Flint and Detroit?" the Missouri congressman told Michigan Democrats over the weekend.
Wisconsin looks like the next major battleground for the Republicans, after Bush won his latest victory in the Puerto Rico primary on Sunday. The vice president won with ease over Sen. Bob Dole, who admitted that he has done little to slow down Bush's drive for the GOP nomination.
"I still have a lot of supporters out there," Dole said in Milwaukee. "We want them to know Bob Dole is a fighter, that we're going to stay in this race. I've got a lot of hill to climb before April 5" and the Wisconsin primary where polls give Bush a big lead.
Bush picked up the 14 delegates at stake in Puerto Rico, boosting his total to 788. That's nearly 70 percent of the 1,139 he needs to win at the national convention in New Orleans this summer. Dole, who hasn't won an event since Feb. 23, has only 178. Former television evangelist Pat Robertson had 17.
Resuming campaigning after a break, Bush headed to New Jersey Monday to talk with Gov. Thomas H. Kean about what could be another endorsement for the GOP front-runner. Later in the week, Bush is to visit Connecticut, where the polls said the primary March 29 should be another win for him.
Democrats as well were scattering across the country, looking for support after a busy weekend of events.
In Puerto Rico, Jackson won the non-binding preference poll with Dukakis running second and Simon third. But it was a fight more about local matters than presidential politics.
The 51 delegates from Puerto Rico all ran as uncommitted, and the campaigns promised major efforts to woo them in coming weeks.
Dukakis won the Kansas caucuses on Saturday, picking up 16 delegates. But Jackson rode strong urban support into a surprising second place and 14 delegates.
In Texas, Jackson appeared to do better, splitting the delegates there in county conventions that were the next step in allocated at-large delegates for the state. That gave Jackson a one-delegate edge over Dukakis in the Texas national delegate count.
In South Dakota, a Saturday caucus followed the results of the Feb. 23 primary and gave Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri the No. 1 spot in state delegates.
All that activity left the latest AP delegate count this way: Dukakis, 526.5; Jackson, 508.55; Sen. Albert Gore Jr. of Tennessee, 362.8; Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois, 171.5; and Gephardt, 154. Of those chosen, 292.65 were uncommitted. To nominate, 2,082 delegates are needed.