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It's Official: Maryland Goes For Obama

About 150 people looked on yesterday in Annapolis as Maryland's 10 presidential electors cast their votes for Barack Obama (D), with several of them reflecting upon the historic significance of their action.

The ceremony was moved from its traditional location in Annapolis prescribed by law, the history-drenched State House, to a less ornate Senate office building due to a months-long construction project in the capital.

"What would Washington, Jefferson and the other founders of our nation have thought about this gathering?" asked U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), a co-chairman of Obama's campaign in Maryland, in reference to the State House across the street that temporary served as the nation's capital in its formative years.

Michael Barnes, a former congressman and one of the 10 electors chosen by the state Democratic party, reflected on how far race relations had advanced since his childhood in Montgomery County.

At the time, Barnes, 65, said, Obama would not have been allowed in a movie theater,a bowling ally or "a decent restaurant where blacks and whites could dine together," Barnes said. "What we're doing here today was unthinkable."

Barnes and Maryland's other presidential electors were chosen by the state's Democratic party chairman, Michael Cryor, who in opening remarks told the crowd that Obama's election held special significance for him as the only current black chairman of a state political party in the country.

The mood of the event was alternately a somber exercise in democracy, a political pep rally for Democrats who dominate the state, and a civics lesson on the quirks of the Electoral College.

Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) said he expected the number of people who claim to have voted for Obama's historic election will only continue to grow in future years.

"In reality," Cardin told the crowd, "there are only 10 people in Maryland who can really say they voted for Barack Obama, and they're sitting right here by our side."

By John Wagner  |  December 16, 2008; 9:23 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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