On Tuesday night, many people gathered at the Marquette Republican Headquarters to watch the presidential election in hopes of a victory for Sen. John McCain. Community members and Northern students alike sat in front of a television screen, switching between CNN and Fox News for election results.
Though their candidate did not win, the Republicans were accepting of the change. Jordan Schwarz, president of the NMU College Republicans and junior political science and history major, said he was disappointed but felt McCain led a good fight.
“I think we had the best race we could; the nation just really wanted Obama this year,” Schwarz said.
People at the headquarters made phone calls and set up food and decorations for the watch party earlier in the day, according to Joel Westrom, chairman for the Marquette County Republican Party and for the first congressional district.
“(Election Day) usually tends to be relaxed; there’s a feeling of, well, we’ve done what we can,” Westrom said.
The primary concern in the room was for McCain to win swing states such as Indiana, Virginia, Florida and Pennsylvania. McCain failed to win any of these states.
As McCain won Oklahoma and Tennessee, there were cheers and clapping throughout the room.
Everyone was also excited when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was announced as reelected in Kentucky.
Local Republican candidates also spent a part of their night at the headquarters to celebrate election night. Among them was Doreen Takalo, running for representative in the state legislature for the 109th district. Results show that she lost to Democrat Steve Lindberg.
Cori Johnson, a local Lutheran pastor who has lately been campaigning for the Republican Party, checked the election results of local races on her computer through the night.
As the headquarters was closing for the night at 9:30, Johnson said of the local elections, “It’s not a good night for us.”
Lee Guizzetti, owner of Central Insurance Agency in Ishpeming, often campaigns for local Republican candidates and also attended the Republican watch party. He feels that Obama does not have enough experience to be president, having only served on the senate for the approximately 143 days that the Senate was active.
“We absolutely do not know what (Obama) believes; it’s all been slogan and cliché,” Guizzetti said. “We just don’t know what he’s going to do.”
Guizzetti also said that under Obama, there will be an expansion of government, an intrusion into American’s lives, and a vast transfer of wealth, where money will be taken from some and given to others.
“I just would wish he would take it from Oprah Winfrey and not from (me),” Guizzetti said.
Near 9:30 p.m., the crowd at the Republican Headquarters began to dwindle to about six people. The snack food was cleared away and lights in the front office were turned off.
Brenda Raymond and her two daughters, Maderia Raymond and Stephanie Breault, who regularly helped campaign at the Republican Headquarters this season, were among the last to leave.
Breault, a senior nursing major at Northern, agreed that when it comes to electing a president, experience counts and therefore Obama is not qualified for presidency. She said that military understanding is also important and speaks volumes to a person’s ability to lead the armed forces. She believes that Sen. McCain has more military understanding than Obama.
She was glad, however, that the wait was over.
“I feel election day is like a doctor’s appointment because you want to do it, but you also want to get it over with,” Breault said.
Westrom agreed that campaigning has been a lot of work and the break will be much appreciated.
“It’s been an emotional roller coaster . I feel that this has been a year for Democrats to take it,” Westrom said.
Westrom also said it was unfortunate that the Republican Party did not necessarily choose their ideal candidate for this election. Republicans from the U.P. had called him and said that they did not support the McCain for president. He hopes that the election in 2010 for Michigan governor will be different.
“I see the same tactics (over the years), and people are calling for change,” he said. “I hope that . we will have learned our lessons and look forward to 2010.”