February 7, 2008 / 6:58 PM / 11 years ago

FACTBOX: The February 12 "Potomac Primary" presidential contest

(Reuters) - Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, home to the city of Washington, hold nominating contests on Tuesday to choose the Republican and Democratic candidates for the November presidential election.

Following are a few facts about the “Potomac Primary,” nicknamed after the river that splits the region:

* Voters in the United States’ capital city will have a rare chance on Tuesday to affect national politics. The District of Columbia has no voting representation in Congress, and the city’s overwhelmingly Democratic tilt means presidential candidates rarely bother to campaign there in general elections.

* In the Democratic contests, 83 delegates are at stake in Virginia, 70 in Maryland and 15 in the District. Rather than winner-take-all, these delegates will be divided between New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama based on how they do statewide and in individual congressional districts.

* In the Republican contests, 63 delegates are at stake in Virginia, 37 in Maryland and 19 in the District. The winner of each contest all of the delegates, which could allow front-runner John McCain, an Arizona senator, to pull farther ahead of his last remaining rival, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

* Blacks make up 57 percent of the population in the District, 30 percent in Maryland and 20 percent in Virginia, above the national average of 13 percent. Blacks have heavily favored Obama, who would be the first black president, over Clinton in Democratic state contests so far.

* Voting ends at 7 p.m. EST/ (0000 GMT) in Virginia and at 8 p.m. EST/(0100 GMT) in Maryland and the District. None of the primaries are open to independent voters.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan, editing by Alan Elsner)

SOURCE: National Association of Secretaries of State, U.S. Census Bureau

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