Obama Looks to Claim Victory This Week
By Shailagh Murray TROY, Mich. -- Sen. Barack Obama may be able to clinch the Democratic nomination on Tuesday night, with pledged delegates from South Dakota and Montana pushing him to the new magic number of 2,118. Obama needs at least two dozen superdelegates to commit between now and when the polls close tomorrow evening, in order to claim victory at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. where he has planned his election-night rally. As the campaign sees it, it's the perfect venue: In a few months' time, Republicans will hold their convention at the same site. The Illinois senator has announced five new superdelegates since this morning, and now needs a total of 42 to cross the finish line. He is expected to win around 20 pledged delegates tomorrow night. Campaign officials said they are cautiously optimistic that Obama may be able to hit the mark, although they note that they have little control over the timing of endorsements. If not tomorrow, Obama aides are confident that victory can be claimed on Wednesday or Thursday, as party leaders begin to close ranks around Obama. The campaign is organizing a rally for Thursday night in Northern Virginia that for the moment is being billed as just another event, but could turn into a major spectacle featuring numerous party luminaries, depending on how the next few days unfold.
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