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Obama takes Dallas County by storm

Dallas County followed a goodly portion of the nation Tuesday and overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama for president.

In unofficial, but complete county returns, Obama received 13,958 Dallas County votes or 67.05 percent to defeat John McCain, who received 6,781 votes or 32.62 percent.

Nationally, with many of the votes from the west coast uncounted, The Associated Press count showed Obama with 338 electoral votes, more than the 270 needed for victory. The nationwide popular vote was close. Totals from 58 of the nation’s precincts showed Obama with 51 percent to McCain’s 48 percent.

Cecil Williamson, Dallas County Republican chairman, said he figured the race nationally was over after Obama was projected to win Ohio and its 20 electoral votes. No Republican candidate for president has won the high office without taking Ohio.

“I was disappointed Ohio went for Obama,” Williamson said a couple of hours before the Democrat was projected by The Associated Press as the winner. “I believe he is going to be elected president. Ohio is key to the election.”

Obama supporters at The Gathering Place on Water Avenue poured into the streets shortly after CNN announced Obama as the projected winner. People screamed for joy, others smiled and still other embraced one another.

“An African-American president,” one young man said as he watched the celebration from the corner of Water Avenue and Broad Street. “We will have an African-American president.”

Although Dallas County and the nation voted for Obama, Alabama went overwhelmingly for McCain, which was not unexpected. With 88 percent of the precincts reporting, McCain captured 1,110,917 votes or 60 percent of the Alabama vote to 730,254 votes or 39 percent for Obama.

“I was not surprised Alabama went Republican,” Williamson said. “It has in most recent national elections.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.