Democrats overlooked the snowy weather and turned out in heavy numbers for municipal caucuses Sunday, giving Barack Obama a slight lead over Hillary Rodham Clinton in early tallies for the party's party presidential nominee.
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 11 percent of the participating precincts reporting, Obama had a narrow lead over clinton Clinton, 175 to 168, with four uncommitted.
The voting came a day after Obama and Clinton made personal appeals here, and after Obama picked up wins in Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington.
Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton replaced campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle with longtime aide Maggie Williams on Sunday, engineering a shake-up in a presidential campaign struggling to overcome rival Barack Obama's financial and political strengths.
The surprise announcement came hours after Obama's sweep of three contests Saturday. The Illinois senator also grabbed the early lead in caucuses in Maine on Sunday.
Sen. John McCain stumbled in the first elections since becoming the apparent Republican nominee for president, losing the Kansas caucuses as another round of states voted Saturday.
Despite losing to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in Kansas, McCain is all but assured his party nod. The Arizona senator has rolled up huge numbers of delegates to the national convention: Before Saturday, he had 719 delegates to Huckabee's 234. Mitt Romney, who suspended his campaign last week, had 298.
Sen. Barack Obama swept the Louisiana primary and caucuses in Nebraska and Washington state Saturday night, slicing into Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's slender delegate lead in their historic race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The Illinois senator also won caucuses in the Virgin Islands, completing his best night of the campaign.
"Today, voters from the West Coast to the Gulf Coast to the heart of America stood up to say 'yes we can'" Obama told a cheering audience of Democrats at a party dinner in Richmond, Va.
Three days after the voting ended, the race for Democratic delegates in Super Tuesday's contests was still too close to call. With nearly 1,600 delegates from Tuesday contests awarded, Sen. Barack Obama led by two delegates Friday night, with 91 delegates still to be awarded. Obama won 796 delegates in Tuesday's contests, to 794 for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to an analysis of voting results by The Associated Press.
In the Republican contest, Sen. John McCain had a commanding lead in the race for delegates.
John McCain got here by keeping it real. A bus to drive him. A microphone when he arrived. Coffee and doughnuts to keep him going.
They fueled a mind and a mouth that never stopped running, delivering the kind of straight talk people liked so much when he ran for president eight years ago. It helped rescue his campaign from near-collapse last summer. It revived his chances of becoming the Republican nominee.
Now, on the verge of doing just that, McCain is trying to figure out how to keep being John McCain.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign is offering a daily peek into their presidential fundraising, reassuring donors and supporters and prodding them into maintaining a healthy rate of income.
Sen. Barack Obama's camp on Friday demanded more than a peek, calling on Clinton to release her tax returns considering the $5 million loan she recently made to her campaign. The Clinton camp said she would make her returns public only if she is the Democratic Party's eventual nominee.
"There's an awful lot of information public about Senator Clinton's finances," spokesman Howard Wolfson said.
Super Tuesday was carefully engineered to decisively settle who would be the party's nominee. And it did. But it was the wrong nominee.
It's Republican John McCain who has the clear path to the nomination after Mitt Romney bowed to the inevitable and called it quits Thursday.
It wasn't supposed to happen that way. Hillary Clinton cultivated the role of the "inevitable" nominee and her operatives in the Democratic Party amassed a bloc of primaries and caucuses where her superior organization, name recognition and funding would deliver a knockout to whatever rivals were still standing.
It's great when the voters turn their backs on conventional wisdom!
We pundits said that almost certainly we'd all know the Republican and Democratic nominees on Feb. 5. Ha!
We said John McCain was political dead meat. Ha!
We said Barack Obama would quickly fall to Hillary Rodham Clinton's big money, big momentum and big organization. Ha!
A few said Rudolph Giuliani was unstoppable. Ha!
Some thought Mitt Romney would catch fire because of his money, good looks and business acumen, despite his changing views. Ha!
Before my more conservative friends start leaping from buildings over Sen. John McCain's presidential primary victories, let me try to coax them back in from the ledge. Despite his myriad apostasies (e.g. McCain-Feingold's free-speech limits, anti-ANWR-oil-drilling votes, a mixed tax-cut record, creeping Kyotoism and cold feet on waterboarding), the Arizona Republican could do for fiscal responsibility what Ronald Reagan did for tax relief.