Republicans Romney, Dalrymple win North Dakota

Associated Press Modified: November 7, 2012 at 1:01 am •  Published: November 7, 2012
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"There's a whole different set of challenges when your state is doing well," the governor said. "Some of these judgment calls can get even more challenging. But we look forward to it, because so many things are going to become possible."

Other voters decided to buck the Republican tide, as evidenced by Heitkamp's strong showing in the U.S. Senate race.

Carol Preston, 77, a Fargo retiree, said she voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein for president and Heitkamp for Senate because she believes people in the highest income bracket should be paying more taxes. But Preston also voted for Dalrymple.

Willy Marler, 19, of Rogers, said he voted for Romney because he believes he'll do a better job on farm policy, but he also picked Heitkamp over Berg.

"I think she supports North Dakota better. She understands North Dakota and the way we live up here," Marler said. "It's a lot different from New York City or Los Angeles."

North Dakota residents approved four of five ballot measures. They agreed to expand the state's smoking ban to cover bars and other public places, prohibit the state from levying a tax on voting, protect farmers' rights, and require the governor and other elected officials to take an oath of office. Voters rejected a measure expanding the state's animal cruelty law.

More people were expected at the polls this year because the state's population has grown with the oil boom. Residents broke a record for early voting, with nearly 130,000 casting ballots before the polls opened on Election Day, Secretary of State Al Jaeger said. That broke the record set in 2008 by about 10,000 votes.

Still, Jaeger said he expected voter turnout in the state to be similar to what it was in the presidential elections four years ago and eight years ago — about 64 percent or 65 percent of eligible voters.

"Even though our numbers go up, will the (turnout) percentage go up? That remains to be seen," Jaeger said.

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Associated Press writers James MacPherson and Blake Nicholson contributed to this report.