Barack Obama beat John McCain in the capitol of very-Republican Utah:
Updated election results released Tuesday show that Salt Lake County voters favored Barack Obama over John McCain — but just barely — marking the first time in decades that a Democratic presidential hopeful won the state’s most populous county.
With the addition of more than 29,000 provisional and late-arriving absentee ballots, President-elect Obama scored a come-from-behind victory over McCain. The county’s official election canvass didn’t change the outcome in any other race.
Obama trailed McCain by about 1,900 votes before the provisionals, cast mostly by people who moved but didn’t change their voter registration, and absentees were added.
The final result gave Obama a 296-vote victory, which equates to less than one-tenth of 1 percent.
The race was so close that if McCain wanted a recount in Salt Lake County, he could get one. But no one really expects that to happen.
The updated election results have no impact on who won the presidency or even on Utah’s five Electoral College votes, which easily went to McCain.
But Obama’s Salt Lake County win sure mean a lot to the leaders of the Utah Democratic Party, who watched President Bush win the last two elections by a margin of more than 20 percentage points in the county.
“It is a huge step for us,” said party Chairman Wayne Holland.
McCain beat Obama 62 percent to 35 percent in Utah. But Obama had the strongest showing of any Democratic presidential hopeful in Utah since Hubert Humphrey ran in 1968.
He also won three counties — Salt Lake, Grand and Summit — while that last two Democratic candidates didn’t win even one.
If that’s not a sign of the significance of Obama’s victory, I don’t know what is.