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Dole Is GOP Victor; Gephardt Wins Democratic Primary

February 24, 1988

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) _ Kansas Sen. Bob Dole scored a solid victory in South Dakota’s Republican presidential primary Tuesday, far outpacing Vice President George Bush, who had written off the state. And Rep. Richard Gephardt came out on top on the Democratic side after a campaign blitz.

″I took South Dakota very seriously,″ Dole said. ″Let the message go out, that it pays to come to South Dakota.″

Bush had sidestepped the Midwest contests and headed directly South after his New Hampshire primary victory.

Gephardt’s win over Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis delivered no nominating delegates, but gave Gephardt a victory to point to as the candidates campaign in the Super Tuesday states. Dukakis, however, scored a win of his own Tuesday night, in Minnesota’s caucuses.

Dukakis was the resounding victor in the New Hampshire primary a week ago; Gephardt won the Iowa caucuses eight days before that.

The South Dakota primary was moved from its traditional June date to the front of the nominating calendar this year.

Gephardt, Dukakis and Illinois Sen. Paul Simon campaigned heavily here. Sen. Albert Gore Jr. of Tennessee, Gary Hart and Jesse Jackson also vied for support.

Republican voters were choosing all 18 delegates the state will send to their national convention next summer, while 15 of the 19 Democratic delegates were to be allocated on the basis of the primary.

The Democratic primary is legally non-binding because it falls prior to the date allowed by Democratic National Party rules. But state party officials have said they expect the March 12 statewide caucus to apportion those 15 delegates according to the results of Tuesday’s primary.

The South Dakota Legislature moved the presidential primary from June to February in an attempt to draw candidates to a state that was largely ignored by presidential contenders in past elections. Backers of the move said it would force the candidates to pay attention to South Dakota and the problems of rural America.

With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Gephardt had 44 percent; Dukakis, 31 percent; Gore, 8 percent; Simon, 6 percent; Hart and Jackson, 5 percent.

For the Republicans, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, Dole had 55 percent; Robertson 20 percent; Bush 19 percent and Kemp 5 percent. Former Delaware Gov. Pete du Pont, who dropped out last week, drew 1 percent.

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