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Two-Way Races Continue in Republican, Democratic Fields

Senator John McCain claimed victory Saturday in the key Republican primary in South Carolina, while Hillary Clinton won a Democratic caucus in Nevada. VOA's Brian Wagner reports the vote results suggest no clear leader has emerged in either party's race for the presidential nomination.

Hillary Clinton's campaign added the caucus victory in Nevada to earlier wins in New Hampshire and Michigan. The outcome follows a hard-fought battle between her and Senator Barack Obama, in which each received the support of important trade unions in the state.

Clinton campaign communications director Howard Wolfson told CBS Face the Nation that Nevada voters were drawn to the senator's economic proposals.

"Hillary Clinton won overwhelmingly and the reason is because she has a plan to inject stimulus and turn the economy around," said Wolfson.

Obama campaign officials also tried to claim a victory in Nevada, saying that while more Clinton voters turned out, Obama actually won more delegates than needed to receive the Democratic party's nomination.

Speaking on Face the Nation, an Obama strategist, David Axelrod, said the contest remains close.

"I think this race goes on, it is a dead-even race and it goes on to South Carolina," said Axelrod.

Experts say Obama needs to perform well in next Saturday's Democratic primary in South Carolina, which has a large African-American population.

On the Republican side, both John McCain and Mitt Romney claimed victories Saturday. McCain beat former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in the South Carolina primary, which is expected to signal key support for McCain in upcoming votes in other southern states. Romney won by a large margin in the party's caucus in Nevada, where he was the only candidate to campaign actively.

McCain told CNN that his victory on Saturday shows he appeals to a broad base of Republican voters.

"All over the state of South Carolina we received broad based, strong support from conservatives, moderates, liberals, all over the state," said John McCain. "We are very happy with the result."

Romney has sought to emphasize his business experience, saying it will help him find measures to overcome the nation's economic troubles. Speaking on Fox News Sunday, he said he appeals to voters seeking new ideas in Washington, while he says McCain has spent too much time in the nation's capital.

"If they want someone instead who has been in the real economy over the last 25, 30 years, who understands why jobs come and why they go, and what it takes to grow an economy, I think I will be that person," said Mitt Romney.

Candidates for both the Republican and Democratic presidential nominations agree that while the latest votes are important, there are still many states left to vote.