Kerry wins Wisconsin; Dean drops out of race

As a result of Tuesday's primary election, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean announced his withdrawal from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Dean reportedly said before the primary that his future rested on Wisconsin, and despite mixed reports as to whether or not he would drop out if he lost the state, his distant third place finish proved to be the catalyst for his departure.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) placed first with 39.7 percent of the vote. Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) received 34.3 percent, with Dean at 18.2 percent. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and the Rev. Al Sharpton placed in the single digits and received no delegates.

Sophomore Ryan Alexander, president of Marquette's Students for Dean group, said he was disappointed, but proud the group was able to get students out to vote, even if not for Dean.

"If nothing else, (getting students out to vote) is what our group has been about from the very beginning," Alexander said. "We passed out somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 pieces of literature about Gov. Dean" as well as information about where students go to vote before the primary.

Senior Megan Toal-Rossi, president of Students for Kerry, said she was happy about the win, but a bit frustrated to see Edwards do so well. She said she talked to many people who voted for Edwards only because they want Kerry to pick him as a vice president.

She does not feel Edwards' success or defeat in Wisconsin's or upcoming primaries will influence Kerry's decision for a vice president if he gets the nomination.

"John Edwards is a good guy and I'm glad to see him doing so well," she said. "Obviously I think Kerry will do a better job."

With the contest shaping up as a fight for the nomination between Kerry and Edwards, the two will have to begin to distinguish themselves.

"Honestly I have to say I have not seen a definitive split between the two," said sophomore Ashley Russell, chair of the College Democrats. They would be "very different in how they operate in the office and how they approach" the job, but there is not much of a solid difference.

Toal-Rossi disagrees, and said Kerry's weakness when compared to Edwards is "that he's not from the South."

The difference Edwards' campaign pointed out in a press release at Sunday's debate is that Kerry voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement, while he opposed it at the debate. Edwards did not vote against it because he was not a congressman at the time.

Edwards is currently in his first term as a senator, which freshman Daniel Suhr, campaign director for the College Republicans, said would be Edwards' biggest weakness if he goes on to face President Bush.

"He has no experience with what a president will have to do," Suhr said. He said Edwards especially lacks experience working with foreign leaders, which will likely be a crucial presidential task in the next four years.

He said Kerry's voting record — which he described as "left of Sen. (Ted) Kennedy (D-Mass.)" — would keep him from beating Bush.

Kerry "made hypocrisy and flip-flopping an art form," Suhr said. He pointed to Kerry's votes for, and later attacks on, the No Child Left Behind Act, the Patriot Act and the war in Iraq. At the debate Sunday, Kerry defended his switch by accusing Bush of not handling the war or the education act properly.

As for the Patriot Act, Kerry said its problem was John Ashcroft. Toal-Rossi said Kerry's strength against Bush was his concern for the American people, "lack of a personal agenda" and "just that he's a better person."

"Regardless of who wins the Democratic (nomination), American voters will have to choose between a president who will keep taxes low" and one who will raise them, said Jennifer Millerwise, spokeswoman for President Bush's re-election campaign.

Adopting a similar large-picture view, Toal-Rossi said the Democratic nominee faces a challenge in that "George Bush has done a good job of pegging non-Republicans as unpatriotic."

Wisconsin was the 17th state to hold a primary or caucus. This was Kerry's 15th win.