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Md. Democrats Torn Between Clinton, Obama

Some Maryland Democrats at the polls today said they struggled to choose between two candidates who are facing off in what some called the closest presidential nomination battle of their lifetimes.

At a precinct in Takoma Park, staff writer Steve Hendrix talked to a voter who said he and his wife had been wavering the last few days between Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. After dismissing Obama early on as running a "substance-less campaign," lawyer Josh Whitaker said he had been swayed toward Obama recently.

"His speeches have been pretty persuasive," said Whitaker, waging a debate with himself as the line of voters moved slowly past the table of baked goods being sold by the Piney Branch P.T.A. "Lately I've been thinking more about who can beat McCain."

Emerging from the voting booth a few minutes later, Whitaker said he finally decided to cast his ballot for Clinton.
"I'm pretty much an establishment Democrat," he said. "I don't think she's going to win, but I think she'd make a fine president."

Meanwhile, at the student union precinct at the University of Maryland College Park, staff writer Megan Greenwell interviewed a medical student who said he, too, was torn between the two senators.

"I talked to my parents and my family, but I wasn't decided till I prayed about it this morning," said James Houston, 32. "Then I decided to vote for Obama."

At a Silver Spring precinct, voter Joel Greer summed it up. Asked by staff writer Nelson Hernandez who would win Maryland's presidential primary today, Greer said: "The Democrats."

Greer, a Democratic campaign worker, had a reason to be enthusiastic. Of the 338 people who had voted at East Silver Spring Elementary School by 10 a.m., 310 of them were Democrats. There were 11 Republicans -- outnumbered by 17 people voting in the "other" category, Greer said.

By Philip Rucker  |  February 12, 2008; 1:57 PM ET
Categories:  2008 Potomac Primary  
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