Massachusetts senator John Kerry has won the Democratic Party caucuses in Washington State, strengthening his lead in race for his party's presidential nomination. He is also ahead in early returns from Michigan.
With more than two-thirds of precincts reporting, Mr. Kerry was projected to earn 48 percent of the caucus vote in Washington State, with former Vermont governor Howard Dean coming in second, at 31 percent.
The Massachusetts senator had already won seven of the nine caucuses and primaries held before Saturday. He became the front-runner last month after winning contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.
He is looking ahead to caucuses in the northeastern state of Maine Sunday, and to primaries Tuesday in Virginia and Tennessee. There, he hopes to show he has the ability to compete with President Bush in the South, where the Republican president is popular.
Howard Dean suffered a setback Saturday when a major labor union, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, withdrew its support of Mr. Dean, the former front-runner.