As voters in Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont and Texas headed to the polls potentially to decide the Democratic nomination for the presidency, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday urged voters to settle in for a nomination fight that could roll on for months to come.
“You know this is a long process,” Mrs. Clinton told reporters Tuesday morning outside a polling place in Houston.
It was an entirely different message from the one delivered by former President Bill Clinton just a few weeks ago, when he told Ohio and Texas voters that his wife would not succeed without victories in those delegate-rich states.
Turnout appeared to be heavy. In Cleveland, heavy rains did not deter voters, and parts of Texas reported particularly strong turnout even though people had been voting there since Feb. 19.
“Best I can tell it’s a tsunami of voters,” said Gerry Birnberg, chairman of the Harris County Democratic Party, which encompasses Houston and its environs. At some polling sites there, as many as 100 voters lined up before the polls opened at 7 a.m., Mr. Birnberg said. A record 180,000 voters cast Democratic ballots in early voting in Harris County and some 300,000 more were expected today, far surpassing the 75,000 in the 2004 presidential election.