MIAMI - Hillary Clinton was the apparent winner of the Florida Democratic presidential primary Tuesday, though only bragging rights and no delegates were at stake.
The New York senator was proclaimed the winner by a variety of news outlets only seconds after the voting ended in the state's Western Panhandle at 8 p.m. EST, based on exit polls showing her leading Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois 2-1 and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards coming in third.
"Clinton in a Rout" was the headline on The Miami Herald's online report.
Florida's Democratic Party was stripped of its delegates by the national party when the state moved the primary to January from next week's Super Tuesday. But Clinton is expected to urge her delegates from other states to vote for revoking the punishment and allowing the state's delegation to be seated.
None of the major Democratic candidates campaigned in Florida after the party discipline, but the Clinton and Obama organizations fought hard behind the scenes to get out the vote.
Clinton supporters were hoping a victory in Florida before Super Tuesday -- where Clinton has large leads in polls taken in the biggest states and 22 caucuses and primaries are set to pick 52 percent of the delegates -- might blunt Obama's momentum after his decisive victory in the South Carolina primary.
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