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Liberty turnout sets record
How we voted
AW NealJonesWeb
Neal Jones puts up a sign outside the Dorchester voting precinct early Tuesday. - photo by Andrea Washington / Coastal Courier
Super Tuesday did little to declare a clear frontrunner in the Democratic race for the White House, but it was clear which candidate Liberty Countians want to see sworn in next January: Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.
The junior senator obliterated rival New York Sen. Hillary Clinton by winning 74 percent of the 4,792 total Democratic votes cast here, or 3,534 to New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's 1,148 votes, which is 24 percent of the votes cast.
The overwhelming support for Obama among the county's voters was evident early on during primary voting Tuesday as many residents used their own time to volunteer at phone banks for the Obama campaign or to set up stands near voting precincts.
As he posted an Obama campaign sign near Highway 84 in front of the Dorchester voting precinct in Midway, supporter Neal Jones said the change and unity he believes Obama can bring to America inspired him to get involved in the campaign.
"I believe in what this brother is going to do and I believe in his message of hope," he said. "And (politicians) always say they want to reach across party lines to build on one common goal to serve (the people) but then (each party) has their own...I think Barack can make them come together."
Obama had at least a 20-point lead over Clinton in most polls heading into the primary, but actually beat the New York senator by 36-points to make Georgia one of the 13 states in which he would claim victory on Super Tuesday.
And while Liberty County's Republican voters preferred John McCain over former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, by a difference of 369 votes, Huckabee was the favorite statewide, carrying Georgia by a two-point margin.
McCain earned 967 votes in the county, or 45 percent of the 2,158 votes cast in the GOP primary, to Huckabee's 598 votes, or 28 percent.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was a close third with 497 votes, or 23 percent of the county's Republican electorate, but after a disappointing showing nationwide, he ended his campaign Thursday.
All told, the 6,950 votes cast in the county represented just under a 34 percent turnout of the 20,531 registered voters in the county and created a record for primary voting in the county.
Liberty County Chief Registrar Ella Golden said she has never seen such a buzz around a presidential election in the county and she expects an even larger turnout - and another record - in November.
"I'm expecting a very, very high turnout in November," she said. "There is just such an enthusiasm with the voters this's going to be great."
Golden said despite the higher than normal turnout at the polls, her office did not receive complaints about voting wait times.
She added other than one machine out of the 26 used for voting temporarily having problems, there were no voting machine issues reported.
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