Johnson County Obama supporters call win ‘biggest victory’


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As the smoke settled after the barrage of votes and exit polls on Election Day, an unexpectedly early announcement by several news outlets announced President Obama’s reelection. Iowa, along with other swing states, went blue, and President Obama won what had been a fiercely contested battle.

Iowa City area streets and the University of Iowa campus were relatively quiet Tuesday evening, but it was a different story inside local watch parties. Residents, students, and university faculty shut themselves into dorm rooms, area restaurants, and bars to watch the results of the 2012 election roll in.

It was around 10 p.m., just after Iowa was declared to be in Obama’s favor by a margin of 10 percent, that national media outlets declared Obama’s victory.

University of Iowa freshman Ansel Landini said Obama has students’ well being in mind and supports affordable education.

“I think it’s important to vote because the politics in question are pertinent to us, the college students. Romney [as president] would have made it much harder for students to get student loans,” he said. “I think it’s stupid when people say politics don’t matter because they affect everyone.”

Acting as a bipartisan alternative to the many politically one-sided events around the area, the UI Specialized Reporting and Writing event planning class hosted a “Voting is Sexy” election viewing in the UI’s Adler Journalism Building.

The event featured a live television stream of the election results as they rolled in, along with food, refreshments, a photo booth, and prizes.

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UI junior Rachel Roth was one of the event coordinator for the Event Planning Class event, said it was meant to celebrate people’s individual right to vote. She said turnout was much larger than expected — about 75-80 instead of the expected 55.

“For a lot of us college students, it’s our first election,” she said. “It was very intense.”

Local Obama supporter Karla Smith said Iowa’s votes for Obama are evidence of the progressive nature of Iowa voters.

“You hear people say Iowa’s a hick town, but look at how progressive we can be supporting this man,” she said.

At one point during the night at the Obama for America watch party in Iowa City, the entire room — roughly a few hundred people — were chanting “OFA! OFA!”

The local Republican watch party was much more somber.

 The Johnson County Republicans hosted a watch party at the Coralville Holiday Inn that began with technical difficulties and ended with disappointing election results.

“We are worried about our country, and we are very worried about what Obama is going to do if he has an unfettered second term,” said Cathy Grawe, a Romney supporter who was present at the party.

UI freshman and Republican Joe Henderson, who spent election night surrounded by a group of friends in Iowa City, believes that without voter participation in elections, people aren’t taking full advantage of their individual freedoms.

“For me personally, voting was particularly important in this election because the spending path we are on is not sustainable, “he said. “We need less government in our lives in order to create a lower deficit, more prosperous country.”

Romney supporters looked dismayed, and some refused to talk to The Daily Iowan as they left bars early, soon after the first projections were out.

One UI sophomore, however, who voted for Romney said he knew Obama was going to win.

“[Romney] would have personally benefited my family more,” said Andy Roth, whose father is in charge of a plastic factory in Illinois. “I don’t have student loans, and I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant.”

Ultimately, Obama supporter Diana Coberly said the Democratic victory comes after months and months of hard work.

“To know people have worked their butts off for this…it’s paying off is the biggest victory in my life,” she said.

Reporters Rishabh Jain, Stacey Murray, and Cassidy Riley contributed to this story.

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