Democrats here pleased with turnout

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Niles Democratic voters echoed the sentiments of voters statewide with an overwhelming choice for John Kerry as the next Democratic Presidential candidate at Saturday's caucus.
Kerry won the State of Michigan with 52 percent of the votes. Howard Dean came in second with 17 percent, followed by John Edwards with 13 percent. Wesley Clark and Al Sharpton both finished with seven percent and Dennis Kucinich finished with three percent.
The caucus site managers at the three Niles area sites were all pleased with the turnout at Saturday's caucus.
Dennis Casto, caucus site manager at Niles Township Hall, said they had a fantastic turnout and even had to leave the site to get more ballots after running out of them at 1 p.m.
Niles Township Hall got a total of 277 votes with Kerry leading the way with 53 percent. Edwards finished second with 25 percent, followed by Dean with 12 percent and Clark with six percent.
Howard Township Hall had a total of 213 votes with Kerry receiving 59 percent. Edwards finished with 19 percent, followed by Dean with 12 percent and Clark with six percent.
City of Niles residents voted at Niles High School and had 150 total votes. Kerry finished with 57 percent, followed by Edwards with 19 percent, Dean with 16 percent and Clark with three percent.
Minks and a group of local democrats had a sign-up table for BAND set up at the Niles Township Hall caucus site.
He said they had over 175 people sign up to receive information on the group.
The Michigan caucus brought in supporters from all over the Midwest to campaign on behalf of their favorite candidates.
Sandy Hawk made the trip from Indianapolis to help garner support for Howard Dean.
Hawk and a group of five other Dean supporters got up at 4 a.m. and made the trip to Niles to spend their day campaigning for the Vermont governor.
She sat outside the entrance of Niles Township Hall trying to convince voters to keep Dean around.
She will not be able to cast a vote until the Indiana primary on May 4.
There was also a group of Clark supporters from Chicago that were scattered among the Niles caucus sites, doing their best to rally votes for the retired Army general.
Andy Roberts, caucus site manager at Niles High School, said the Michigan caucus was originally scheduled to take place at a later date, but the Michigan Democratic Party requested that the caucus be moved to an earlier date.
The Feb. 7 date marked the earliest caucus in state history and it ended up being one of the most well attended with more than 160,000 votes.

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