AUGUSTA, Maine - 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.
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 79 percent of the participating precincts reporting, Obama led in state delegates elected over Clinton, 1,817 to 1,263, with 17 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.
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.
In Maine's largest city, Democrats carrying "Obama" and "Hillary" signs waited to get into the citywide caucus at Portland High School in separate lines that snaked nearly three city blocks in opposite directions.
Colin Johnson, an Obama supporter in Portland, said the Illinois senator is not a typical politician. "I'm convinced he's a once-in-a-generation leader," he said.
"He's young and energetic and Washington and the White House could benefit from some fresh air," said Joe Lewis, another Obama supporter.
But Tony Donovan said Obama can use some more seasoning. Donavan was supporting Clinton because she, like him, was a baby boomer who shared similar values and because she has the experience and the team to lead in Washington.
"Obama's a great guy. He'll be great in eight years," Donovan said. "He doesn't have the experience in the Senate. He doesn't have the experience in Washington. He's not ready."