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Record Editorial - Super Tuesday caucuses were a big success

DETROIT LAKES - Cheers to everyone who participated in precinct caucuses Tuesday evening.

Judging by the turnout, they were a big success, locally and across the state.

The DFL caucus at the community center ballroom in Detroit Lakes was packed on Tuesday evening, with long lines of people waiting to vote snaking past tables full of delegates from around the county.

At the community and technical college in DL, the Republican caucus filled a large meeting room -- and that was only for the western half of the county. The other half met in Frazee and Wolf Lake.

It was the same story across the state, according to our St. Paul Bureau staff.

The major political parties picked the right year to move their caucuses to put Minnesota in with 23 other states for the big Super Tuesday vote.

All signs pointed to a record precinct caucus turnout, in part due to interest among young voters. Twin Cities' precincts reported long lines of voters waiting to cast ballots, and in some cases traffic jams were backing up cars onto interstates.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said more than 150,000 people checked his Web site's caucus finder and predicted a large turnout.

"We are extremely pleased with these results," Ritchie told Don Davis and Scott Wente of our St. Paul Bureau.

Democrats had hoped up to 100,000 people would attend the Super Tuesday caucuses, while Republicans shot for up to 50,000. In the last presidential election, about 54,000 Democrats and 40,000 Republicans attended caucuses.

Most interest centered on the Democratic contest between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, both of whom headlined Minnesota rallies last weekend.

Obama's campaign bought a barrage of television commercials in recent days. And he drew 20,000 supporters to a Target Center rally in Minneapolis Saturday.

Clinton, meanwhile, compiled a who's who of Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party leaders as supporters, ranging from former Vice President Walter Mondale to House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher.

Former U.S, Sen. Mark Dayton was in Detroit Lakes last week stumping for Clinton.

When the dust cleared, Obama defeated Clinton by a large margin, both in Becker County and across the state.

Minnesota is tied for seventh in the most Democratic national convention delegates up for grabs. Seventy-two delegates will be allotted based on Tuesday's votes, with another 16 delegates who also are party leaders allowed to vote for whomever they chose.

Mitt Romney won the state for the Republicans, with Mike Huckabee winning in Becker County.