WASHINGTON — Sen. Barack Obama won the most delegates in Tuesday's primaries, moving within 200 delegates of securing the Democratic nomination for president.
Obama won at least 94 delegates in the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, according to an analysis of election returns by The Associated Press. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won at least 75 delegates, with 18 still to be awarded.
Sixteen of the outstanding delegates were from North Carolina and two were from Indiana.
In the overall race for the nomination, Obama led with 1,840.5 delegates, including separately chosen party and elected officials known as superdelegates. Clinton had 1,684.
Obama was 184.5 delegates shy of the 2,025 needed to secure the Democratic nomination.
There are 217 delegates at stake in the final six contests. Also, about 270 superdelegates are yet to be claimed.
Superdelegates are the party and elected officials who will automatically attend the national convention and can support whomever they choose, regardless of what happens in the primaries and caucuses.
Obama is on pace to reach a majority of the pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses in two weeks, when Kentucky and Oregon vote. Obama had a 171-delegate lead among pledged delegates.
Obama has argued for months that superdelegates should support the candidate who wins the most pledged delegates. Clinton argues that superdelegates should exercise independent judgment.
Clinton leads in superdelegate endorsements, 270.5 to 256, though Obama has been chipping away at her lead since the Super Tuesday contests on Feb. 5. Both candidates picked up a superdelegate endorsement Tuesday.
Nearly 800 superdelegates will attend the national convention. About 220 remain undecided and about 50 others will be named at state party conventions and meetings throughout the spring.
The AP tracks the delegate races by calculating the number of national convention delegates won by candidates in each presidential primary or caucus, based on state and national party rules, and by interviewing unpledged delegates to obtain their preferences.
Most primaries and some caucuses are binding, meaning delegates won by the candidates are pledged to support that candidate at the national conventions this summer.
Political parties in some states, however, use multistep procedures to award national delegates. Typically, such states use local caucuses to elect delegates to state or congressional district conventions, where national delegates are selected. In these states, the AP uses the results from local caucuses to calculate the number of national delegates each candidate will win, if the candidate's level of support at the caucus doesn't change.