EAGLE, Colorado - Democrats in Eagle County rejoiced Tuesday night as national TV news networks started calling the presidential race in favor of President Barack Obama around 9:10 p.m. local time.
Local Democrats gathered at Paradigms restaurant in Eagle and at Cafe de Luna in Avon to wait for election results, while the local Republicans gathered at the party's office in Eagle. Around 8 p.m., none of the major swing states had been called, and the Democrats in Eagle were optimistic, but not certain. The mood at the Republicans' office felt slightly nervous, although supporters there weren't ready to concede the presidency just yet.
At Paradigms, Democratic Party volunteer Susie Kincade looked at Eagle County Democrats 1st Vice-Chair Carole Onderdonk when MSNBC projected Obama as the winner and the women hugged. They were both emotional over the results after working hard in Eagle County throughout the campaign season.
Kincade woke up at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday and spent 14 hours campaigning for Obama. By the time the results were in, she was tired, but also ecstatic. Kincade founded the Women's Empowerment Workshop in Vail, so needless to say the issue most important to her this election was women's rights.
"I've been pushing for women's rights since I was 17 years old, so the idea for me that I had to be doing it again when I was 57 years old was shocking," she said. "That was my personal motivation - the women's issues."
Onderdonk got choked up as it set in that Obama had won. She beamed as she looked up toward the television screen that read "re-elected."
"I am incredibly gratified that the people of this country paid attention to their brains instead of their right wing ideology and elected a president who is sensible, science-oriented and who is for 100 percent of the people, not 53 percent," Onderdonk said.
As Democrats celebrated, Republicans accepted defeat. Some expressed sadness over what they think the next four years will bring.
John Cook, of Eagle, said he hopes younger Americans - those who seem to have the most influence on presidential elections these days - can study more about the nation's history in terms of what works and what doesn't work.
"Socialism and Communism don't work - history says that's true - and capitalism isn't perfect, but it's better than the alternative," Cook said. "(Socialism) robs you of your initiative, your motivation - you're not going to prosper without that. ... This is going to be very difficult to work out of."
Johnie Rosenfeld said the Republicans "gave it all we got." He watched the news reports that Obama had won and thought about what it means for the future.
"I think the biggest fear I have right now is what's going to happen with the debt ceiling and is the Senate going to be able to move forward and approve a budget," Rosenfeld said. "Because if the spending stays as high as it is and the debt ceiling is not dealt with then we're going to see massive unemployment and economic devastation."
Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.