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Obama wins Md. amid robust turnout

ANNAPOLIS — President Barack Obama won Maryland’s 10 electoral votes on Tuesday, and Democrat John Delaney defeated Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in the heavily Democratic state.

Exit polling showed the president defeated Mitt Romney in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2-1 margin.

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin won against Republican challenger Dan Bongino, a former U.S. Secret Service agent, and independent candidate Rob Sobhani, who spent more than $5 million of his own money on his campaign.

Delaney’s victory gives Democrats a 7-1 edge in Maryland’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Andrew Harris will be Maryland’s lone Republican. Seven of Maryland’s eight incumbents were re-elected.

Around the state, turnout was robust. Voters stood in long lines in some places, with waits lasting more than two hours in parts of Baltimore County. In the early morning, voters in Hyattsville, waited more than an hour and a half at a polling place at Nicholas Orem Middle School. Election officials at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Hagerstown said the turnout was much higher than usual.

Retired medical assistant Carolyn Barton, a Democrat, voted for Obama at the church.

“I think he needs more than four years,” she said. “I think he’s doing great and I think it’s going to take more than four years to get out of the mess we’re in.”

In Silver Spring, 60-year-old Mary Woodard, a registered independent who works as a housekeeper, said she voted for Romney. Woodard said a top issue for her is her opposition to abortion because she believes in reincarnation. She also was worried about the economy. She said Romney is tied to the banks and Wall Street but that between him and Obama, she had to go with the Republican.

“Obama has a sinister side,” she said. “I don’t want a socialized country.”

In the Bartlett-Delaney congressional race, Joseph Neat, 29, a stay-at-home father and Republican from Hagerstown, voted to retain Bartlett.

“He’s been in there before and he’s actually done some pretty darn good deeds,” he said of Bartlett. “He’s for the community. He’s for the hard-working community. He works with them.”

Both Barton and Neat voted for Cardin, the Democrat, in the Senate race, Neat crossing party lines to do so. In Annapolis, Republican Robert Coleman, 70, voted for GOP challenger Bongino.

“I just think Mr. Cardin’s been there too long and they get set in their ways,” Coleman said.

Last week’s Superstorm Sandy, meanwhile, didn’t seem to impact voting, which went on as normal in Crisfield, Md., which experienced flooding. In Garrett County, where some residents were without power for days because of snow, one polling site at a church had to be changed. Power was restored to the church over the weekend, but the decision to use an alternate polling place had already been made.

Still, some voters were thinking about the storm. Reggie Stiteler, 35, of Baltimore, said he voted for Obama and that Obama responded better to Hurricane Sandy than the Republican administration of George W. Bush did when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.

“With Obama, the response was quick and sharp and decisive and Romney wants to cut that kind of funding,” Stiteler said.