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Potomac Primary Next Big Battle for Democrats

Democrats in Washington, DC and the adjacent states of Virginia and Maryland will go to the polls Tuesday to choose between the two remaining candidates seeking the party's presidential nomination. The contest is being called the Potomac Primary, named after the famous river that flows past the nation's capital and bisects the two states. VOA's Jim Fry looks at the scramble for votes among Democrats who say they are conflicted over two good choices for their party's presidential nomination.

Just across the Potomac River from the nation's capital, the state of Virginia is now a primary election battleground. Democrats will send 103 delegates to the political party's national convention.

Senator Hillary Clinton, hoping to further her chances for the nomination, launched another frenetic week of primary election campaigning here. She wants be the first woman elected to the White House, and is battling for every vote with Senator Barack Obama, who could be the first black president.

Obama has been boosted by heavy support among African Americans in other southern states. But there are fewer blacks in Virginia.

The Latino vote has been largely with Clinton in many recent contests. This Hispanic Virginian is one example. "Many people, many people -- my friends and my family -- thinking Hillary is perfect for president," Gladys Ramirez told us. But Hispanics make up a tiny percent of the vote.

The upscale communities in the Virginia suburbs close to Washington, with money to spend and chock full of Democrats, offer a big opportunity to the campaigns. It is here where Clinton supporters lined up Thursday for a chance to see her.

Among those watching the former first lady: women who glow with the pride they say they have in the opportunity Clinton represents for women and their daughters.

Not far away, women come to a breakfast the next day in a wealthy suburban enclave. But these women, many of them middle aged or older, are not for Clinton.

"I wanted to feel really good about a woman running for the presidency of the United States," says Robin Latham. She complains Clinton's rise was fueled by her husband, former President Bill Clinton. "To me, Hillary Clinton isn't advancing feminism or women’s' rights,” she adds. “She's kind of, like, setting it back."

Obama backers here are trying to persuade undecided voters like Sandy Treanor, who says she is torn by the choice she and others must make Tuesday. "Having a woman is important to me but then I think that Obama can make America liked in the world again -- bring us more together," says Treanor.

It is a hard decision for many Democratic voters in these neighborhoods, like Linda Hardy, home this day with her three-year-old daughter. But she has decided. "We like the fact that he's bringing people together. He's very enthusiastic about getting both parties to work together.

Many supporters of Obama and Clinton say, after a nominee is decided in the primaries, they will back whoever wins the Democratic nomination.