CHEYENNE, Wyo. — In a sparsely populated state surprised to find itself in the national spotlight, Sen. Barack Obama beat Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.
With 22 of 23 Wyoming counties reporting, including Laramie, the most populous, Obama won 59 percent of the vote to Clinton's 41 percent.
Clinton's resurgence in the race this week — thanks to her victories in Ohio and Texas — means no delegate anywhere will be taken for granted.
Wyoming, with only 12 delegates at stake, became a player for the first time in years. Both candidates campaigned here, bringing the sort of attention that the state's Democrats are not accustomed to. Wyoming, where more than two-thirds of voters are Republican, is often an afterthought in the Democratic presidential campaign.
But this week, both candidates came to Wyoming. Former President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton stumped as well.
"This is a big win for us," Obama campaign strategist David Plouffe said in a conference call with reporters. "You saw very furious campaigning by the Clintons. … They had more activity than we did, they mounted a very aggressive campaign on the ground."
The Clinton campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
Obama won seven of the state's delegates; Clinton won five. According to the Associated Press, Obama now leads 1,578-1,468. It takes 2,025 delegates to win the nomination.
Democrats turned out in record numbers.
"Look at these lines!" exclaimed former Wyoming Secretary of State Kathy Karpan. "I feel like I died and went to heaven."
At 9 a.m., Laramie County Democratic chairman Mike Bell gaveled his county's caucus to order. The civic center, with a capacity of 1,500, was nearly full, and hundreds of voters were lined up outside in a relatively balmy 38 degrees, waiting to sign in to cast their ballots.
"Good morning, Wyoming Democrats!" said Bell. "I've got a question for you: Where in the hell did you come from?"
The crowd roared its approval. He was right to ask: In 2004, exactly 160 people turned up for the Laramie County Democratic caucus.
McCain plans moves as Democrats fight on
Sen. John McCain has sketched out an ambitious plan to exploit the ongoing bickering between Clinton and Obama through weeks of heavy fundraising, a trip abroad, policy speeches and a biography tour aimed at broadening his appeal beyond traditional Republican voters.
The Arizona Republican will meet with foreign leaders in Europe and the Middle East, give speeches, hold town hall meetings and rake up cash.
The evolving plan also calls for the Republican National Committee to use the time to fill blogs and talk radio with red-meat rhetoric and ammunition about the lack of Democratic qualifications.
"You'd rather be the definer than the defined," said Jill Hazelbaker, McCain's communications director.
Information from the Washington Post was used in this report.