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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Obama inches ahead in Spokane County

Sen. Barack Obama inched ahead of Sen. Hillary Clinton for the first time Friday in the counting of presidential primary ballots in Spokane County.

With more than 56,000 Democratic ballots tallied countywide, Obama has 27,349 ballots, or a lead of 335. Clinton had a lead of about 1,500 ballots in the first reports on Tuesday night, but Obama has gained ground in later counts, which tend to be ballots that were marked and mailed closer to election day.

Neither side went after primary voters very hard, so this might just measure a general shift among voters as they weighed whether or not they were going to cast a ballot.

On the Republican side, where more than 53,000 ballots were cast, Sen. John McCain remains in first place with more than twice the votes of his nearest rivals. But former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has moved past former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney into second place.

One possible reason: Romney was still in the race when the ballots were mailed at the end of January. He likely was doing well up until he dropped out, which was about a week after ballots arrived in voters' homes.

Statewide, McCain has about 49 percent of the vote and is expected to get most of the GOP delegates determined by in the primary.

Obama has 51 percent of the vote, or a lead of about 32,000 votes. But no delegates are at stake in the Democratic primary, so would only count for bragging rights if the campaigns were paying any attention.

Which they aren't. But we are, so you can check out the updated maps by clicking here.

The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.