Sen. Edmund S. Muskie won a solid victory in the Illinois Presidential popularity contest yesterday over former Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy.
With 52 per cent of the vote in, Muskie had 429,576 votes or 63 per cent, while McCarthy took 255,131 or 37 per cent.
The networks projected that Muskie will end up with between 62 and 64 per cent when all the votes are counted.
In the contest for delegates to the Democratic National Convention, Muskie led for 49 delegates, South Dakota Senator George McGovern led in 21 races and uncommitted candidates led in 35.
McGovern did not enter the non-binding popularity poll, while McCarthy entered delegate candidates in only 38 of the 160 contests. Muskie entered 118 candidates, McGovern 106. The uncommitted candidates were mainly members of slates backed by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.
Daley's powerful Democratic machine appeared to be headed for at least one, and possibly two, defeats in races for Governor and Cook County State's Attorney.
Lt. Gov. Paul Simon, a one-time rebel who now has Daley's backing for Governor, and anti-organization candidate Daniel Walker were locked in a tight contest which was too close to call late last night.
Early returns gave Simon 167,785 votes (52 per cent) to Walker's 154,711 (48 per cent). Simon was not polling as well as anticipated in his home areas downstate.
And in the State's Attorney contest, incumbent Edward V. Hanrahan appeared to be the winner over Daley's choice, former traffic court Judge Raymond Berg, and an independent, Donald Page Moore.
Hanrahan was originally slated as the organization's choice, but was dumped after he was indicted for conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with a police raid in which two Black Panthers were killed.
In other races, Republican Governor Richard Ogilvie was easily renominated, and Rep. Roman C. Pucinski of Chicago won the Democratic nomination to oppose Republican Senator Charles Percy.
Yesterday's victory is important to Muskie since it represents his first solid victory in the first three weeks of primaries. While the Maine Senator was helped by the presence of only one of his opponents on the ballot, his victory is still impressive, particularly in view of his nine per cent showing in Florida last week.
McCarthy's vote was slightly higher than his supporters had predicted, but it is not clear what effect the vote will have on the former Senator's chances in later primaries. McCarthy said he would stay in the race regardless of the outcome in Illinois.
For Daley, the results could prove far more ominous. A victory by Walker would mean that Daley's Democratic machine would be denied even a chance of capturing the patronage-laden Governor's chair.
Hanrahan's victory, meanwhile, is not only a blow to the machine's prestige, but could be very troublesome to the organization in view of the political power of the State's Attorney's office.
In related developments, 13 election judges were arrested in Chicago on various charges of voting fraud