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Minnesota joins nation in electing first black president of United States

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Minnesota voters continued their trend of siding with Democratic presidential candidates, giving Barack Obama a win Tuesday.

They gave Obama a 54-44 win.

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Minnesota DFL Chairman Brian Melendez said the Obama win was expected. His party faithful gathered at a downtown St. Paul hotel cheered through the night as if at a rock concert, with even stronger cheers whenever a network projected another Obama win.

"This is the most excited I have seen Democrats in 20 years," Melendez said.

At the Republican gathering in Bloomington, young people dominated the crowd, which was upbeat even as Obama won state after state.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who finished No. 2 in Republican John McCain's running mate selection process, said Republicans need to work with Obama.

"Our country, our state has to come together and make sure we move forward in a positive manner," he said. "We are going to have our differences but when we elect a new president of the U.S., it is not the time to be negative about it."

McCain was hurt by his age, which is 72, exit polls showed. But Obama survived what some supporters feared would be a race problem.

"The outreach that we (Republicans) have done obviously was not sufficient," Pawlenty told ABC News.

No Republican has won Minnesota since Richard Nixon in 1972.

Minnesota hosted both major presidential candidates early this year, but as polls showed Obama pulling away in the state, those visits slowed.

McCain was nominated at the national convention in St. Paul; Obama appeared in the capital city in June to announce he had enough votes to win the nomination. Obama returned for a fundraiser and brief swing through a cafe in August.

In the summer and fall, the GOP candidate held a rally and a town hall meeting in Twin Cities suburbs, as well as another meeting just outside the Twin Cities in Wisconsin. Obama also appeared in western Wisconsin just before his party's national convention in late August.

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Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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