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Provisional Ballots in Delegate Election Bring Obama's Total to 1,820

Feb. 14, 2008 — Counting of the provisional ballots in Saturday's V.I. Democratic Party delegate election changed one delegate in the St. Thomas-St. John district, changed none on St. Croix, added 50 votes to Barack Obama's already overwhelming 1,770, bringing his count to 1,820, and added seven votes for Hillary Clinton, bringing her final tally to 150.
Candidate James O'Bryan Jr. narrowly edged out Sebastiano Paiewonsky-Cassinelli by three votes, said party Executive Director Simon Caines, making 360 for O'Bryan to 357 for Paiewonsky-Casinelli.
Six delegates, three from each district, will represent the territory in August at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Representing the St. Thomas-St. John district will be Arah Lockhart, Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone and O'Bryan, while St. Croix will be represented by Shawn Richards, Marise James and Robert Rios.
Paiewonsky-Cassinelli will serve as alternate for St. Thomas-St. John and Wanda L.C. Morris will represent St. Croix.
Caines echoed the pleasure he expressed earlier about Saturday's turnout — and then some. Not only was it a record turnout, "I'm still encouraged," he said Thursday. "I'm getting a lot of calls and compliments and comments on how good the voting went, and how people appreciate the fact that they have a say in the presidential election."
But that's not all.
"What's more exciting is that people want to become involved with the local Democratic Party," Caines said. "I've had several calls about joining. I ask people to give me a contact so I can notify them of our next meeting. Among those in the leadership of the party, we don't want to lose this momentum. We are launching our new website in under a month so people can stay informed. The end result (of the election) is that people are really fired up.
There are about 40,000 registered Democrat voters in the territory, Caines said, while meeting attendance — other than elected officials — is usually around 30.
"At our last meeting in January we had a packed house, maybe 50," he said. "The Democratic Party is on the move!"
Caines called the record 2,095 ballots cast as "historic."
"People are excited about Obama, that's obvious, but the other thing is they are excited about the opportunity to cast a vote for that person who might actually become the president of the United States," he said.
Long lines has formed outside Charlotte Amalie High School before the polls opened at 11 a.m. to hear the candidates before casting their votes. The candidates held forth from 9 a.m. until the polls opened.
Some older folks in line likened the enthusiasm and energy of the day to the feelings for President John F. Kennedy almost 50 years ago. There was an energy and a lack of contention, a general feeling of well-being, among the voters Saturday, unusual for territory elections.
The feeling in the territory was indicative of the enthusiasm sweeping the nation in the wake of support for the young black Senator from Illinois. On Tuesday Obama won what's called the Potomac Primary — Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
About 18 more provisional ballots need to be counted in the St. Croix District, but that's not enough to alter any totals, Caines said. He cautioned that all the tallies are still unofficial.
The territory will have nine votes at the convention. Voters at Saturday's caucus will select six delegates. St. Croix voters will vote for two women and one man. St. Thomas and St. John voters will select two men and one woman. These six delegates will cast half a vote each for three of the V.I. votes. The remaining six votes go to superdelegates, who are automatically delegates by virtue of their position in the party. They are Gov. John deJongh Jr., who has endorsed Obama; Delegate Donna M. Christensen, who has endorsed Clinton and is a member of Clinton's health-care team; State Party Chairman Cecil Benjamin; Vice Chairwoman Marylyn Stapleton; Burke; and National Committeeman Kevin Rodriquez.
St. Thomas-St. John candidates and their vote totals:
Arah C. Lockhart: 921
Shawn-Michael Malone: 654
James A. O’Bryan Jr.: 360
Sebastiano Paiewonsky-Cassinelli: 357
Marc L. Stridiron: 302
Edouard deLagarde: 267
Jason Budsan: 96
Athniel J "Bobby" Thomas: 59
Hector Squiabro: 52
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