Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Obama wins Salt Lake County vote

Excerpts from Matt Canham article in the Salt Lake Tribune

Updated election results released Tuesday show that Salt Lake County voters favored Barack Obama over John McCain -- but just barely -- marking the first time in decades that a Democratic presidential hopeful won the state's most populous county.

With the addition of more than 29,000 provisional and late-arriving absentee ballots, President-elect Obama scored a come-from-behind victory over McCain. The county's official election canvass didn't change the outcome in any other race.

Obama trailed McCain by about 1,900 votes before the provisionals, cast mostly by people who moved but didn't change their voter registration, and absentees were added.

The final result gave Obama a 296-vote victory, which equates to less than one-tenth of 1 percent.

The race was so close that if McCain wanted a recount in Salt Lake County, he could get one. But no one really expects that to happen.

"It is a huge step for us," said party Chairman Wayne Holland.

He has studied the major strides Democrats have made in surrounding western states like Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, all of which went for Obama. Holland said the shift from Republican elected officials to Democrats only occurred after Democrats started winning in the major metro areas of Denver, Albuquerque and Las Vegas.

He said seeing Obama win Salt Lake County was "our grand hope."

He also won three counties -- Salt Lake, Grand and Summit -- while that last two Democratic candidates didn't win even one.

Democrats also claimed three new state House seats in the Sandy area, including one held by the sitting House Speaker, and one state Senate seat.

Election Night results

Obama : 161,696 or 47.9 percent

McCain: 163,579 or 48.4 percent

Final results

Obama: 176,988 or 48.17 percent

McCain: 176,692 or 48.09 percent

Percentages do not add up to 100 percent because of third party candidates

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