Presidential candidates in both parties have a lot at stake in these Potomac primaries.Clinton has to play down the losses because she is falling behind in the public perception of her candidacy and calculating the number of delegates both candidates have suggests a tie. She's placing all of her eggs in the basket of Ohio and Texas.
Coming off his sweep in five weekend contests, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois will be aiming for a political hat trick over Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.
Maryland, Virginia and especially the District of Columbia have a large percentage of African-American voters, as well as affluent and highly educated white voters -- two demographics exit polls show Obama has done well with before.
Virginia is also an open primary, meaning independents are allowed to vote. Exit polls indicate Obama has done very well among independents voting in Democratic contests.
"That's how we're going to win, is to build a winning coalition [of] not just Democrats, but independents and Republicans who have also lost trust in their government, have lost faith in their leaders, who want to move in a new direction," Obama said at a Maryland rally Monday. Video Watch Obama continue to pile up wins while Clinton regroups »
"That's what we want. Everybody getting on the change bandwagon, the Change Express," he added.
Clinton was also in Maryland Monday. She downplayed Obama's victories this weekend in Louisiana, Washington, Nebraska, Maine and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Meanwhile, for the GOP, Mike Huckabee continues to hang around, despite the statistical improbability that he could wrest the nomination from John McCain. If anything, this actually favors McCain since it keeps his name in the media while the Democrats slug it out. It gives McCain someone to bounce campaign slogans off of and free media coverage. Huckabee isn't a real threat to McCain, but strong showings still suggest that McCain's support can be thin among conservatives.