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Students Track Close Races on Election Night

Students Track Close Races on Election Night

By Lauren Toole

When they called the election, the room exploded. It was amazing, Joumana Khatib 13 said.

In a race that literally ended at the eleventh hour, President Barack Obama won a second term in office, beating Republican opponent Governor Mitt Romney and winning the state of Ohio.

Khatib was one of many who attended the Center for the Study of American Democracys (CSAD) election watch party on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

It was great to be watching it with so many people from Kenyon, Khatib said. That made it really fun to watch it with the room packed, [and] it made the excitement palpable.

I was nervous as hell, and I think everyone around me was too, said Lucas Pastorfield-Li 15, who also attended CSADs event. They did a great job at Gund setting things up, but I was way too into the election to really appreciate it.

While most eyes were on the large screen broadcasting CNNs live analysis in the theater, students trickled in and out of the Gallerys several open rooms which included three other television broadcasts. Students discussed ballot initiatives or compulsively checked status updates on their phones.

It was so much better than watching it at my own home, Khatib said. It really helped me keep in the moment and really get swept away. I was so happy to be there.

Besides the CSAD event, other groups and students hosted watch parties across campus.

At 9:00 p.m., the Kenyon Democrats returned to campus from an all-day canvassing event across Ohio in Reynoldsburg, Lancaster, Pickerington and Columbus and headed straight to the apartment of Sydney Watnick 14, vice president of the Kenyon Democrats.

Spending the entire day canvassing did not stop the Kenyon Democrats from getting into the election fervor.

It was awesome. The crowd was so enthusiastic, and we had all just been canvassing, so coming back from doing that we were so energized and focused on it, Watnick said. We watched on CNN, because we were concerned that MSNBC would call it too soon. At one point, the TV was even tuned to Fox News, notoriously known for its rightward slant, because they thought the network would take the longest to announce Obama as the projected winner.

When CNN announced they had a prediction, the room immediately fell silent as viewers crowded around the TV, gripping their blue drinks.

Then they said Obama, Watnick said. We were all screaming and jumping up and down, and I opened my window in New Apts and started screaming four more years.

In the Beta Lounge in Leonard Residence Hall, the Kenyon Republicans were initially hopeful as election results began trickling in.

The atmosphere was optimistic at first, and stayed relatively positive even when it was clear Romney wouldnt win, said Andie Asimes 13, a member of the Kenyon Republicans.

After Obama was named the projected winner, the mood shifted, and became stunned and demoralized, said Andrew Gabel 15, the Kenyon Republicans secretary.

This was the most important election in our lifetime and Republicans got crushed, Gabel said. I think in terms of overall strategy, our party needs to go back to the drawing board. That being said, my concern for the GOP is quite secondary to that of the nation, and unfortunately I think we are in for a very difficult four years.

Asimes took a more positive outlook on the results.

My personal reaction is that while this situation is not my first choice for our country, I try to stay confident in the checks and balances of the system, she said. I think the hardest thing moving forward is going to be uniting the ends of the spectrum, because everyone walks away offended or insulted from such a race in some capacity.

During Election Night, students also paid attention to local results as the numbers rolled in. In Ohio, incumbent Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown beat Republican challenger Josh Mandel, while Republican congressman Bob Gibbs defeated his Democratic opponent Joyce Healy-Abrams in Ohios 7th Congressional District.

Now that the balloons have been popped, the TVs tuned back to regular programming and the Gund Gallery has hosted its weekly PB&J Wednesday event as usual, the spell that fell over Gambier on a cold, dark Tuesday night has vanished as quickly as it took over. Except, perhaps, for the faint and echoing voice of Watnick deafeningly screaming across campus, Four more years!

Sam Colt, Eric Geller, Lili Martinez and Madeleine Thompson contributed reporting.

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