AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- Barack Obama defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton in Maine presidential caucuses Sunday, grabbing a majority of delegates as the state's Democrats ignored the snowy weather and turned out in record numbers for municipal gatherings.
Despite the wintry weather, the turnout shattered the previous caucus record as Democrats in 420 Maine towns and cities decided how the state's 24 delegates will be allotted at the party's national convention in August.
With 99 percent of the participating precincts reporting, Obama led in state delegates elected over Clinton, 2,079 to 1,396, with 18 uncommitted.
The voting came a day after Obama and Clinton made personal appeals here, and after Obama picked up wins in Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington.
Exulting in his string of victories Sunday night, Obama told a crowd of 18,000 in Virginia Beach, Va.: "We have won on the Atlantic coast, we have won on the Gulf coast, we have won on the Pacific coast and we have won between those coasts."
But Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, said the candidate "still faces an uphill battle in every upcoming contest because the Clintons are far better known and have a political machine that's been honed over two decades."
Obama won 15 of Maine's delegates to the national convention and Clinton won nine. In the overall race for the nomination, Clinton leads with 1,136, including separately chosen party and elected officials known as superdelegates. Obama has 1,108.
Caucus organizers had expected heavy participation at the caucuses, but snow was falling and gusting winds hit as many of the gatherings were scheduled.
In the end, excitement over the races prevailed over the weather with more than 40,000 votes, far surpassing the old record of 17,000 set in 2004 when John Kerry and Howard Dean were vying for the party's nomination, party executive director Arden Manning said.
Caucuses started late in Bangor and several other locations across the state because so many people showed up that they were lined up outside the doors.
In Maine's largest city, Democrats carrying "Obama" and "Hillary" signs waited to get into the citywide caucus at Portland High School in separate lines that snaked nearly three city blocks in opposite directions.
Colin Johnson, an Obama supporter in Portland, said the Illinois senator is not a typical politician. "I'm convinced he's a once-in-a-generation leader," he said.
"He's young and energetic and Washington and the White House could benefit from some fresh air," added Joe Lewis, another Obama supporter in Portland.
But Tony Donovan said Obama could use some more seasoning. Donovan was supporting Clinton because she, like him, was a baby boomer who shared similar values and because she has the experience and the team to lead in Washington.
"Obama's a great guy. He'll be great in eight years," Donovan said. "He doesn't have the experience in the Senate. He doesn't have the experience in Washington. He's not ready."
Obama wound up winning 73 percent of the vote in Portland, party officials said.
A line waited to get into Augusta's caucus as Gov. John Baldacci, a Clinton supporter, addressed the crowd of a couple hundred at the city's Cony High School.
Asked why he decided to wait in line to participate, John Brandt said, "Getting rid of Republicans, once and for all."
Though Maine's national delegate count is small, Clinton and Obama, along with surrogates, came to the state as their campaigns drew tighter.
Thousands of people packed the Bangor Auditorium to hear Obama on Saturday and hundreds more who weren't allowed inside greeted him as he arrived. People also were stopped at the door as Clinton held a town hall-style gathering nearby at the University of Maine at Orono. She later stopped in Lewiston.
Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, and husband, Bill, also visited, while Obama supporter Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts campaigned in two cities in the days before the vote.
Both campaigns hit Maine heavily with radio and TV advertising, and voters' homes were being bombarded with pre-taped messages in support of both candidates.
On Sunday, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, visited Maine caucuses on Obama's behalf. On Clinton's side, Baldacci, Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern and New York Rep. Gregory Meeks campaigned.
The high level of excitement contrasted with earlier expectations that the post-Super Tuesday timing of the caucuses would dampen voter interest.
Democrats on Sunday elected more than 3,500 delegates to the state convention. Based on Sunday's votes, delegates are allocated to each candidate.
A competitive GOP race a week earlier also helped to enliven interest in the Maine Republicans' nonbinding caucuses, which were won by Mitt Romney. He dropped out of the race last week, making it likely that Arizona Sen. John McCain would become the GOP nominee.
Associated Press writer David Sharp in Portland, Maine, and Charles Babington in Virginia, Va., contributed to this report.