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Obama increases lead in delegate count

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Obama leads Clinton by 131 delegates, CNN estimates
  • Obama wins Mississippi by a wide margin
  • Obama comes in first in Texas caucuses
  • Mississippi Democrats divide on racial lines, exit polls indicate
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(CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama widened his lead over Sen. Hillary Clinton in the overall delegate count by picking up delegates in Mississippi and Texas on Tuesday.

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Sen. Barack Obama claimed a big victory in Mississippi's Democratic primary.

The Illinois Democrat won handily in the Mississippi Democratic primary Tuesday. Obama beat Clinton 61 percent to 37 percent with 99 percent of the precincts reporting.

With the victory, Obama added 17 delegates to his total while Clinton picked up 11, CNN estimates. The Mississippi win was Obama's second win in a row, having won the Wyoming caucuses Saturday.

CNN Tuesday also projected that Obama was the winner of the Texas Democratic caucuses that occurred March 4. Obama will be awarded 38 of Texas's delegates, while Clinton will win 29 delegates as a result of the caucuses, CNN estimates. Video Watch Obama talk about his win »

Clinton beat Obama 51 percent to 47 percent in the Texas primary that was also held on March 4, but Obama was expected to win a majority of the 228 Texas delegates due to his caucus win.

Two-thirds of the state's 193 delegates were at stake at the primary, while the remaining third were decided by the caucuses.

With the wins in Mississippi and Texas, Obama now leads Clinton 1,611 to 1,480 in the total delegate count, CNN estimates. Neither candidate is expected to obtain the 2,025 delegates needed to win the nomination outright before the national convention in August.

"What we've tried to do is steadily make sure that in each state we are making the case about the need for change in this country. Obviously the people in Mississippi responded," Obama told CNN after his win.

Clinton's campaign issued a statement congratulating Obama on his win, and said they "look forward to campaigning in Pennsylvania and around the country as this campaign continues." CNN's political team weighs in on the results »

The state's Democratic voters were sharply divided along racial lines, exit polls indicated. Video Watch what the results mean »

As has been the case in many primary states, Obama won overwhelming support from African-American voters. They went for him over Clinton, 91 percent to 9 percent. See the results

The state has a larger proportion of African-Americans (36 percent, according to the 2000 census) than any other state in the country. And black voters make up nearly 70 percent of registered Democrats.

But white Mississippi voters overwhelmingly backed the New York senator, supporting her over Obama, 72 percent to 21 percent.

According to The Associated Press, only two other primary states were as racially polarized -- neighboring Alabama, and Clinton's former home state of Arkansas.

The exit polls also indicated roughly 40 percent of Mississippi Democratic voters said race was an important factor in their vote, and 90 percent of those voters supported Obama.

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In Ohio, roughly one in five voters said race factored into their decision. About 60 percent of those voters picked Clinton over Obama.

Pennsylvania is the next battleground for the Democrats. It holds its primary April 22 and has 158 delegates at stake. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Paul Steinhauser, Robert Yoon, Alexander Mooney and Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

All About Barack ObamaHillary ClintonU.S. Presidential Election

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