Richmond residents erupted into gleeful cheers as they watched CNN call three states in a row for President Barack Obama, before finally handing him the presidency.
“Four more years! Four more years!” chanted people watching the results at Salute restaurant, throwing their fists into the air, hugging, and crying before toasting their champagne glasses.
Anxiety turned into relief as Iowa a swing state, was called for the president. “I was biting my nails – I was too scared to watch it, but now I’m happy,” said Raquel Paz.
Dreams came true for resident Kara Braxton, who brought her 85-year-old mother to the restaurant, even though she was reluctant to go. “My dream was for her to see him elected four years ago, and my dream now is for her to see him elected again, she said after Iowa and Ohio were called.
“Bravo!” said Dr. Shirley Gilbert, a Richmond resident watching the election at Salute.
“What he’s done for this country was not easy,” said Rosa Lara, a community organizer with the “No on N” campaign, at the no campaign’s official party at the Hotel Mac. “It wasn’t going to be fixed in four years.”
Nakita Clark, a Richmond resident also at the viewing party at the Hotel Mac, added, “We’re very happy! I feel good. Romney couldn’t get up in that House.”
Donning an Obama T-shirt, Councilwoman Jovanka Beckles was elated at the news of the president’s second term. “Four more years works for me,” she said at the RPA headquarters.
Carlos Martinez, a founder of CLOUD — a group of undocumented youths — turned his attention to legislative priorities in the second term. “Now that Obama has been re-elected, we want to push comprehensive immigration reform that includes everyone who is undocumented, not just some of us,” Martinez said. “Now we want to fight for our parents and their rights.”
Media pundits had predicted possible legal battles and an undecided election until well into the night, but some weren’t surprised at the quick turnaround.
“I thought it would be over sooner,” said Michael Souder, a head server at Salute.
Even independent voter John McFaggen, surrounded by his Democratic peers, said “I feel good,” as the news broke.
Larry Lacy said he was glad, but for more than one reason. “I feel relieved,” he said, “and I’m glad that this is all over because I’m tired of getting all this crap in the mail!”
Reporting by: Stephen Hobbs, Jen Baires, Jason Jaacks, and Rachel Witte