2004 California Democratic presidential primary

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2004 California Democratic presidential primary

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441 Democratic National Convention delegates (370 pledged, 17 unpledged)
The number of pledged delegates received is determined by the popular vote
Candidate John Kerry John Edwards
Home state Massachusetts North Carolina
Delegate count 288 82
Popular vote 2,002,539 614,441
Percentage 64.44% 19.77%

The 2004 California Democratic presidential primary was held on March 2, 2004, the same day as the Republican primary. Senator John Kerry overwhelmingly won the primary over rivals Senator John Edwards, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, and Reverend Al Sharpton. The primary was open to both registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters. 440 delegates were at stake, with 370 tied to the March primary.



Dropped out[edit]


With the Wisconsin primary results, which pitted John Kerry and John Edwards in a close fight, and Dean's withdrawal from the race, the campaign moved to Super Tuesday contests. California shared its primary with 9 other states, including New York and Ohio who also placed their primaries on March 2, 2004, or Super Tuesday.

For months Governor Dean had been leading in California, but since he's fall and Kerry's rise, polls in California were mixed. However, when Dean exited the race polls showed Kerry with over 2:1 leads over contender John Edwards.

John Kerry campaign[edit]

Following victories in Idaho, Utah and Hawaii, Kerry moved into the Super Tuesday contests swiftly and with major momentum. With polls showing him ahead in big Super Tuesday states such as California, New York, and Ohio, Kerry was positive on big wins in all three.

However, Kerry campaigned hard in the Golden State to and didn't take competition from Edwards and Kucinich lightly. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Senator had spent 5 additional days in the state than any other candidate competing in the state as well as the fact that Kerry has increased State Staffers by 25 and increased Volunteer Numbers by hundreds in mid-February to ensure a sweep through the California Primary.[6]

John Edwards campaign[edit]

John Edwards, having come out with a strong second place showing in Wisconsin (losing to Kerry 40%–34%), claimed significant momentum heading into California and other Super Tuesday nominating contests on the same day.

Edwards, not having as much popularity out west as in the Rust Belt, South, and Mid-West, did not focus on California until his unexpected final surge in Wisconsin, beating one-time California and national front-runner Howard Dean. Edwards sent Elizabeth Edwards out west to help campaign as well as opened Campaign offices across the state in a last-ditch effort for a final surge.

When the Democrats debated on February 26, 2004, in Los Angeles, Edwards hoped to score points by attacking John Kerry like in the New York debate. However, by the time of the debate, Kerry was already ahead of Edwards by 40 points.[7]

Polling data[edit]

Candidate California Statewide Survey 2/12 Los Angeles Times Poll 2/20 Average
John Kerry 56% 56% 56%
John Edwards 10% 24% 17.5%
Howard Dean 11% 0% (dropped out) N/A


Exit polling[edit]

Classification % of all John Kerry John Edwards Dennis Kucinich
Male 47% 65% 18% 5%
Female 53% 65% 20% 3%
Democrat 75% 70% 18% 3%
Republican 4% 33% 24% 3%
Independent 21% 53% 23% 6%



Key: Withdrew
prior to contest
2004 California Democratic presidential primary[10]
Candidate Votes Percentage National delegates
John Kerry 2,002,539 64.44% 288
John Edwards 614,441 19.77% 82
Dennis Kucinich 144,954 4.66% 0
Howard Dean 130,892 4.21% 0
Al Sharpton 59,326 1.91% 0
Joe Lieberman 52,780 1.70% 0
Wesley Clark 51,084 1.64% 0
Carol Moseley Braun 24,501 0.79% 0
Dick Gephardt 19,139 0.62% 0
Lyndon LaRouche 7,953 0.26% 0
Katarina Dunmar (write-in) 6 0.00% 0
James Alexander-Pace (write-in) 4 0.00% 0
John Nigro Jr. (write-in) 4 0.00% 0
David Giacomuzzi (write-in) 3 0.00% 0
Fern Penna (write-in) 3 0.00% 0
Totals 3,107,629 100.00% 370


On Super Tuesday, Kerry swept all the primaries and eventually won the nomination the next day. He won California by a landslide. He won with nearly 65% of the vote, including every county in the state and every congressional district with over 60% except California's 2nd congressional district. Kerry's only legit opponent left, John Edwards, received under 20% of the vote, insuring his major defeat.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kerry wins Wisconsin; Dean drops out".[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "CNN Kerry wins in south; Clark to drop out". February 10, 2004. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  3. ^ "FOXNews.com Lieberman Drops Out". Fox News. February 3, 2004. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2008.
  4. ^ "Gephardt to drop out of race". CNN. January 18, 2004. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  5. ^ "PBS NEWSHOUR Braun Drops out". PBS. Archived from the original on January 19, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  6. ^ "2004 Primaries California Primary Recap". CNN. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  7. ^ "Dems to debate ahead of Super Tuesday Contests". CNN. February 26, 2004. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  8. ^ "California Polls 2004 Primary USA ELECTION POLLS".
  9. ^ "2004 Primaries California Exit Poll". CNN. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  10. ^ "The Statement of Vote" (PDF). Secretary of State of California. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 29, 2008. Retrieved May 31, 2008.