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Bush, Kerry Locked in Tight Presidential Race - 2004-11-03


President Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry remain locked in a very tight presidential election. The Kerry campaign is refusing to concede defeat in the battleground state of Ohio but the Bush campaign insists Mr. Bush has won a second term in office.

So far, Mr. Bush is projected to win 254 electoral votes and Mr. Kerry 252.

A Bush victory in Ohio would give the Republican incumbent more than the 270 votes he needs for victory. Mr. Bush's chief of staff, Andrew Card, says Mr. Bush won the state and the overall election. He added that Mr. Bush also won the most popular votes ever with more than 56 million.

But Democratic Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards says he and running mate John Kerry intend to "fight for every vote."

With 98 percent of the Ohio vote counted, Kerry campaign officials say the number of so-called provisional ballots remaining to be counted is larger than Mr. Bush's lead. The provisional ballots are votes that do not count until election officials verify the voter's eligibility.

Exit polls indicate Mr. Bush is the winner in 28 states, mainly in the South and West. Mr. Kerry is the projected winner in 19 states in the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast along with Washington, DC.

Turnout was reported heavy as voters finally declared their choice for president after a long and heated campaign focused on the war on terrorism, Iraq and the economy.

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