BARACK TAKES LOUISIANA: WHAT’S NEXT?

THE LATEST ON THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN!

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama launched another surge in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination Saturday, defeating New York Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Louisiana primary after caucus victories in Nebraska and Washington state earlier in the day.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, meanwhile, was locked in a tight battle with Arizona Sen. John McCain in Louisiana’s Republican primary. Neither candidate was expected to reach the 50 percent vote share needed to claim the delegates — 20 of the state GOP’s 47 — at stake Saturday night.

Although McCain has a large delegate lead nationally, Huckabee carried Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas and Tennessee in primaries Tuesday to give him a strong claim to the Deep South.

House Speaker Pro Tem Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, a coordinator for Obama in Louisiana, told a jubilant crowd of backers in New Orleans that Obama’s victory here will further energize a campaign that is already on a roll.

Former Gov. Buddy Roemer, who campaigned for McCain around the country and is one of his key backers in Louisiana, said that Huckabee had spent money on telephone banks and get-out-the-vote efforts.

“But unless you get 50 percent (of the popular vote), you’ve got nothing,” Roemer said. “He got zero.”