By John Wright – Staff Writer

Lone Star State looks to be a prime battleground as Clinton, Obama fight for Democratic nomination


For the first time since becoming an organized bloc, LGBT voters in Texas will help decide the Democratic presidential nominee March 4.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama emerged from battles in 22 states on Super Tuesday with less than 100 delegates separating them. Clinton, who won eight states Tuesday, now has 845 delegates. Obama, who won 13 states, now has 765.

It takes 2,025 delegates to secure the party’s nomination.

Historically, presidential primaries have been decided by the time they get to Texas, which has the most delegates of any state yet to vote. But not this time.

“It’s going to be a very exciting time because for the first time in my lifetime my primary vote is actually going to count for something,” said Jesse Garcia, president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. “It’s going to be a battle royale.”

A committee from Stonewall Democrats, the largest local LGBT political group, voted last month to endorse Clinton. However, the vote must still be ratified by the group’s full membership, Garcia said.

“If we have enough Barack supporters, they might not want to accept that,” Garcia said. “In the end, we can’t go wrong. Both of their records are stellar on LGBT issues.”

On the Republican side, John McCain appears on his way to the nomination after widening his lead over Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee on Tuesday. McCain now has more than half the delegates needed for the nomination.

Rob Schlein, president of Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas, said the gay GOP group does not make formal endorsements in primaries. Schlein said a majority of the group’s members supported Rudy Giuliani, who recently dropped out of the race.

“What I say to people is, “‘Giuliani endorsed McCain,'” Schlein said. “We had a lot of faith in Giuliani’s judgment. That’s going to be my guide.”

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