DES MOINES, Iowa - Democrat Barack Obama expanded his fragile lead in delegates over rival Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday, picking up at least seven delegates as Iowa activists took the next step in picking delegates to the national convention.
Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks during a town hall meeting in Plainfield, Ind., Saturday, March 15, 2008. [Agencies]
Half the 14 delegates allocated to John Edwards on the basis of caucus night projections switched Saturday and Obama got most, if not all, of them.
Iowa Democratic Party officials said that with more than 86 percent of the delegates picked, Obama claimed 52 percent of the delegates elected at county conventions on Saturday, compared to 32 percent for Clinton. About 16 percent of the delegates picked at Saturday's conventions were sticking with Edwards, even though he's dropped from the race since Iowa held its caucuses in January.
Democratic Party projections said the results mean Obama increased by seven the number of delegates he collects from the state, getting a total of 23 compared to 14 for Clinton and seven for Edwards, with one to be decided.
Twelve automatic delegates bring the state's total to 57. Obama has been endorsed by four of those and Clinton three, with the remainder uncommitted.
Counting Iowa's results Saturday, an Associated Press delegate tally showed Obama with 1,610 delegates and Clinton with 1,496.