AUGUSTA - Barack Obama defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton in Maine presidential caucuses Sunday, grabbing a majority of delegates as the state's Democrats overlooked the snowy weather and turned out in heavy numbers for municipal gatherings.
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) arrives to greet supporters outside the Bangor Auditorium before a campaign rally in Bangor, Maine February 9, 2008. [Agencies]
Democrats in 420 Maine towns and cities were deciding how the state's 24 delegates will be allotted at the party's national convention in August. Despite the weather, turnout was "incredible," party executive director Arden Manning said.
With 91 percent of the participating precincts reporting, Obama led in state delegates elected over Clinton, 1,878 to 1,305, with 17 uncommitted.
Obama exulted in his recent victories in Maine and elsewhere, telling a crowd of 18,000 Sunday evening in Virginia Beach, Va., that "we have won on the Atlantic Coast, we have won on the Gulf Coast, we have won on the Pacific Coast" and places in between.
Obama won at least 13 of Maine's delegates to the national convention, with three still left to award. Clinton won at least eight. In the overall race for the nomination, Clinton leads with 1,135, including separately chosen party and elected officials known as superdelegates. Obama has 1,106.
The voting came a day after Obama and Clinton made personal appeals here, and after Obama picked up wins in Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington.
Organizers had expected heavy participation at the caucuses, but snow was falling and gusting winds hit as many of the gatherings were scheduled.
The weather didn't appear to have hurt turnout. Caucuses started late in Bangor and several other locations across the state because so many people showed up that they were lined up outside the doors.