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Gore Sweeping Past Bradley
By DAVID ESPO, AP Political Writer
Vice President Al Gore swept past Bill Bradley in state after state on Super Tuesday, pushing his rival to the brink of withdrawal in the Democratic presidential campaign and turning his own gaze to the general election.
Gore won from New York to Georgia to Ohio and at several stops in between, regularly gaining 60 percent of the vote or more. He also bid for victory in California, the biggest prize on the busiest night of the primary season.
Watching the returns contentedly from a hotel room in his home state of Tennessee, Gore sought to begin unifying the party. ''I have the greatest respect for Senator Bradley,'' said the vice president, who had attacked the former senator vigorously in campaign debates.
Polling place interviews with voters in every region of the country underscored the vice president's strength among core constituencies vital in Democratic primaries.
Blacks and Hispanics preferred Gore over Bradley by a margin of 8-1; the margin among union members was smaller, but a healthy 3-1. Bradley fared better among independents. The exit polling was conducted by Voter News Service, a consortium of the AP and television networks.
''Come what may, we will not be dropping out this evening,'' said Eric Hauser, Bradley's spokesman, shortly before polls began closing in the early states. He said the campaign would have an announcement on Wednesday ''about our plan for Thursday and beyond.''
Advisers to the former New Jersey senator did not discourage talk of a withdrawal if -- as the Bradley forces clearly expected -- Gore was en route to a rout, possibly even a sweep in primaries in all regions of the country.
Gore defeated Bradley in the New England states of Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts. He triumphed, as well, in Georgia, where was winning roughly 80 percent of the vote; Ohio, roughly 70 percent; and Maryland and Missouri, roughly 60 percent.
Bradley came closest in Vermont, where he was gaining 44 percent of the vote.
The delegate tally lagged the popular vote by hours.
By mid-evening on the East Coast, Gore had won 107 of the 1,315 delegates at stake during the day, compared to 43 for Bradley, according to AP estimates based on early returns.
-- (Gore@sucks.com), March 07, 2000