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150 delegates up for grabs Tuesday

  • Story Highlights
  • Wisconsin, Hawaii and Washington state hold contests Tuesday
  • At stake: 94 Democratic delegates, 56 Republican delegates
  • McCain already has 830 of the 1,191 delegates he needs; Huckabee has only 217
  • Tuesday's contests could help Obama's momentum in tight race against Clinton
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In the frantic race for the Democratic nomination, where every delegate counts, states like Hawaii, Wisconsin and Washington are now playing a bigger role in slimming down the race.

At stake: 94 Democratic delegates, 56 Republican delegates.

Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, faces a less contentious nomination. He currently has 830 delegates to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's 217. McCain needs just 1,191 delegates to clinch the nomination.

For Democrats, the results of Tuesday's contests could help Sen. Barack Obama continue to ride the wave of momentum into the upcoming March 4 Texas and Ohio primaries -- two contests that could be make-or-break for Sen. Hillary Clinton.

CNN has compiled information about the three states voting Tuesday.

Washington state

Democrats and Republicans poured into caucus sites in Washington state on February 9, and will now go to the polls Tuesday for the state's primaries.

Washington state is a vote-by-mail state, meaning most voters cast their ballots by mail. There are some traditional polling places open in two counties, but relatively few Washington state voters will go to the polls on Tuesday. Most will or have already cast their votes by mail.

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Also, the Democratic and Republican primaries are open, so any registered voter may participate. Voters do not register by party.

For Democrats, Tuesday's primary is nothing more than a non-binding "beauty contest." That's because the party uses the February 9 caucus results to determine all of its delegates.

The state party, according to Time's Eli Sanders, admits to being "overwhelmed" by calls from Democratic voters trying to understand the whole caucus-primary system.

The Republican Party, however, utilizes both the caucuses and primary results to determine how delegates will be apportioned: 18 for the caucuses, 19 for the primary.

Hawaii

Aloha Democratic voters, it's time to caucus, all in an effort to determine which Democrat will come out on top.

When you think of Hawaii, you normally envision moon-lit luaus, sun kissed bodies and monster surf. But in this race, 20 delegates are up for grabs.

The party caucus is open because voters do not register by party. Therefore, any registered voter may participate, though participants must sign a Democratic party membership card at the caucus site.

Obama's secret weapon in Hawaii is his younger sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, who lives in Honolulu.

"I'd like for people to understand he is without a doubt, precisely what he says he is -- he really has the power to do this," Soetoro-Ng told CNN's Suzanne Malveaux this week.

But lest you think Clinton is giving up on Obama's back yard, think again.

Daughter Chelsea Clinton was dispatched for three days to campaign across the islands. While she refuses to talk to reporters, she spends hours greeting and answering supporters' questions.

For many Hawaii voters, this election is giving them a real role in politics of the mainland.

"I believe she has the experience and all the things to be president. And I'm so inspired by all of this. It's overwhelming for me, it's hard for me to even talk," said Terri Pintacura, a Clinton supporter in Hawaii.

Wisconsin

Will bad weather wreak havoc on Wisconsin voter turnout in the Republican and Democratic primaries?

The forecast for much of the state Tuesday is for temperatures in the single digits with snow possible.

Obama and Clinton are both fighting it out for support in Wisconsin -- and it could be a critical measurement of what's to come, especially with 74 delegates at stake. Video Watch as the candidates campaign across Wisconsin »

"If she wins Wisconsin, a lot of people will say 'now wait a minute, is Obama's momentum over?' " said CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider.

Schneider said Obama does well in red states like South Carolina and Idaho. But Wisconsin is "a narrowly blue state, so it might be very close because there is a large core partisan Democratic vote, and the polls show it's very close in Wisconsin."

In an American Research Group poll taken February 15-16, Clinton leads Obama 49 to 43 percent. The poll questioned 600 likely Democratic primary voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

A poll from Research 2000 taken February 13-14, however, shows Obama ahead of Clinton, 47 to 42 percent. That poll questioned 400 likely Democratic primary voters and has a sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

On the Republican side, 37 delegates are up for grabs.

Frontrunner McCain took a break from the campaign trail, but made a promise on ABC's "This Week" not to raise taxes if he's elected, by using a phrase that got former President George H.W. Bush in trouble: "no new taxes."

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Huckabee campaigned in Milwaukee this past weekend and said he's staying in the race to try to rally the traditional base of the GOP.

But that base is slowly starting to coalesce around McCain, who received support from top party officials -- including former President H.W. Bush and the House Republican leadership. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux, Mary Snow, Robert Yoon and Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider, along with Time's Eli Sanders, contributed to this report.

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