McCain wins Missouri in close race against Obama

Wednesday, November 19, 2008
** FILE** In a Oct. 7, 2008 file photo President-elect Barack Obama, D-Ill., greets Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., at the start of a townhall-style presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. The two former rivals will have a private meeting Monday, Nov. 17, 2008, at Obama's transition office in Chicago. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds/file)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Republican John McCain has defeated Democratic President-elect Barack Obama in Missouri -- the last state to be decided in the 2008 presidential election.

McCain's narrow victory over Obama breaks a bellwether streak in which Missourians had picked the winning presidential candidate in every election since 1956.

With all jurisdictions reporting complete but unofficial results, McCain led Obama by 3,632 votes Wednesday out of more than 2.9 million cast -- a margin of 0.12 percentage points.

Both men spent considerable resources trying to win Missouri, a state that Obama ultimately did not need for his national victory.

Obama won 365 electoral votes. Missouri's 11 electoral votes will give McCain 173.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan has until Dec. 9 to officially certify the results.

But it's unlikely the vote totals will change significantly because no more ballots can be counted. Rather, the secretary of state's office now will double-check the figures supplied by local officials to make sure no numbers are missing and that the precinct-by-precinct votes have been correctly added.

Once the results are certified, Obama's campaign would have the option under Missouri law of seeking a re-count because McCain's victory margin is less than 1 percentage point.

A telephone message left with the Obama campaign was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Missouri's presidential election was its closest since 1908, when Republican William Howard Taft defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan by 449 votes out of 716,788 cast -- a margin of 0.06 percentage points.

Until this year, Missouri had cast its electoral votes for the losing presidential candidate only once in the past century, and that also was a close election. In 1956, Democrat Adlai Stevenson won Missouri over Republican President Dwight Eisenhower by 3,984 votes out of more than 1.8 million cast -- a 0.22 percentage point margin.

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