HAGATNA, Guam — Barack Obama defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton by seven votes in the Guam Democratic presidential caucuses Saturday. The count of more than 4,500 ballots took all night.
Neither candidate campaigned in the U.S. island territory in person, but both did long-distance media interviews and bought campaign ads for the caucuses.
Results of the count completed Sunday morning Guam time show Obama with 2,264 votes to 2,257 for Clinton's slate. That means they'll split the pledged delegate votes. Obama's slate won in 14 of 21 districts.
Clinton issued a statement Saturday night promising, "I will continue to champion the issues facing the people of Guam, and when I'm president I will ensure that hard-working families of Guam have the resources and the opportunity to succeed." Obama's campaign had no immediate reaction to the results.
Eight pledged delegates will attend the convention, each with one-half vote.
U.S. citizens on the island, however, have no vote in the November election.
Superdelegate split uncertain
The territory also sends five superdelegates to the National Convention in August in Denver.
Voters picked two of the superdelegates, electing uncommitted Pilar Lujan party chairman and Jaime Paulina vice chairman. Paulina ran as an Obama supporter. One other existing superdelegate has favored Clinton and the votes of the other two have not been declared.
All-day voting Saturday had people lining up at 21 caucus sites around the U.S. territorial island, which has unexpected importance in a historic Democratic race in which every delegate matters.
There was no direct presidential vote, but each candidate had a slate of supporters on the ballot.
Slow ballot-by-ballot counting went through the night in the territorial legislative building after votes were hand-carried from the caucus sites.
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A big deal this time
Presidential caucuses on Guam usually pass without much notice from the candidates. This time, Obama and Clinton made their case for the territory's four regular delegates with local advertising and long-distance interviews.
Lines formed early at some caucus sites.
Cynthia Estrada of Dededo said she was making up her mind while waiting to vote, but she was leaning toward Clinton.
"She's had the experience," she said. "She's got her husband to help her."
Yona resident Tommy Shimizu said he was voting for Obama delegates.
"It's the fact that he grew up in Hawaii, and I think he can make change," he said. "I think it's time for that."
Clinton and Obama pitched improved health care and economic opportunity as they courted Guam voters from across the international date line. Both Clinton and Obama say they've got the better health plan for Guamanians.
Obama said in an interview with Pacific Daily News that he would support reexamination of a $5.4 million Medicaid spending limit imposed on the territory. Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, told KUAM radio that his wife would work to remove the cap.
Hillary Clinton also has called for Guamanians to be able to vote in presidential elections.
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