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Romney Pumpkin Tops Obam-o'-Lantern

In recent years, the winner of this Orange County contest has also won the real election.

If the votes for macabre pumpkin-carved likenesses of President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney at the Orange County Market Place are any indication, the former Massachusetts governor will squeak to victory in next week's election.

Pumpkins of "Evil Mitt'' and "Bone Chilling Obama,'' created by mortician makeup artist Doug Goodreau, competed Sunday at the Market Place's 15th annual Trick or Treat festival.

The Romney pumpkin received 162 votes, while the Obam-o-lantern got 145, said Jill Lloyd, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Market Place.

It was the fourth presidential pumpkin election at the Market Place in Costa Mesa, and -- judging from past history -- it may foretell the real election.

In 2000, the George W. Bush pumpkin defeated the Al Gore squash. Four years later, the Bush-o-lantern triumphed again over a John Kerry pumpkin. In 2008, the Obama pumpkin got more votes than the John McCain likeness, Lloyd said.

Farmer Mike Valladao of San Jose carved the presidential pumpkin heads in the past three elections. This was Goodreau's first year, and he has a spookier style than the cartoonish flair of Valladao, according to Lloyd, who noted that this year's ballot asked Market Place visitors to pick the "scariest'' pumpkin.

-- City News Service and Patch staff

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