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Larsen sides with Barack Obama

Barack Obama is Congressman Rick Larsen's pick for president.

U.S. Rep. Larsen, D-Wash., has been one of Washington's last uncommitted superdelegates. He told reporters in a conference call from Washington, D.C. Thursday afternoon that he would support Obama.

Larsen's vote of support comes just days after the split-decision primaries Tuesday in Indiana and North Carolina. Obama handily won the North Carolina primary, while his opponent for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton, narrowly won the Indiana primary on May 6. Clinton vowed to stay in the race after picking up the victory.

Larsen, a 2nd District Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, had stayed neutral in the presidential race until now. He had said earlier he wanted the campaign to continue so more states could weigh in on the race.

The 2nd District spans Island County, as well as the San Juans and Skagit, Whatcom, Snohomish and north King counties.

Obama has been the consistent choice of Democratic voters in Washington and Island County.

The U.S. senator from Illinois beat Clinton with 68 percent of the vote during the Island County Democratic caucuses on Feb. 9. Obama also won in the non-binding Washington Presidential Primary in Island County on Feb. 19, collecting 55 percent of the vote.

A large number of Washington's superdelegates have already announced their commitments to the candidates.

Clinton had earlier picked up the support of U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, U.S. Reps. Norm Dicks and Jay Inslee, King County Executive Ron Sims and former House Speaker Tom Foley.

Obama's superdelegate supporters include Gov. Christine Gregoire, U.S. Reps. Adam Smith and Brian Baird, and Democratic National Committee member Pat Notter.

A total of 2,025 delegates are needed to win the Democratic nomination. Before today's announcement, Obama needed 259 more delegates to wrap up the nomination, while Clinton was 272 delegates away from the prize. More than 250 of the Democrats 796 superdelegates were still up for grabs early Thursday.

The final primaries are May 13 in West Virginia, Oregon and Kentucky on May 20, Puerto Rico on June 1, and South Dakota and Montana on June 3.

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