Clinton trumpets FL's Democratic primary

Sen. Hillary Clinton will win Florida's Democratic presidential primary Tuesday, CNN projects, although party sanctions have stripped the state of its convention delegates and no Democrats campaigned there.

Published polls showed the New York senator and former first lady was heavily favored in the state.

Her leading rivals, South Carolina primary winner Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John Edwards, did not campaign in Florida. They opted to concentrate on next week's "Super Tuesday" contests in states such as New York, California, Missouri and Georgia.

CNN's projection is based on precincts reporting results, entrance polls and other statistical models -- including the number of votes outstanding in areas where Clinton was expected to do well.

The sanctions make Tuesday night's results largely meaningless to the Democratic presidential race. Obama described the primary as a "beauty contest" Tuesday, and his campaign issued a statement declaring the race a tie in the delegate count: "Zero for Obama, zero for Clinton."

But Clinton has pledged to fight to have the state's delegates seated at the August convention in Denver, and has increasingly stressed the state's importance since losing Saturday's hotly contested primary in South Carolina to Obama.

Though Democrats agreed to leave the state off their itineraries in a show of solidarity with the national party, Clinton attended permitted fund-raisers in Florida on Sunday and planned to appear with supporters there after polls closed.

And turnout was high for the race even though no delegates were at stake. Nearly 400,000 people cast early or absentee ballots ahead of the primary, and Tuesday's vote was expected to top the nearly 800,000 who turned out in 2004.

Donna Brazile, who managed former Vice President Al Gore's presidential bid, said many Democrats were likely to turn out to vote on a state constitutional amendment that would limit property tax increases and expand homestead exemptions.

"People are very afraid this will cut public services, cut back education," said Brazile, a CNN analyst. "So the Florida Education Association and all of the unions are spending millions of dollars to get voters to turn out."