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Republican election watch ends in disappointment

Meghan Thomassen | Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Notre Dame College Republican election watch only met disappointment when incumbent President Barack Obama beat former Gov. Mitt Romney with enough electoral votes to claim another four years in office Friday night.

The crowd spent the night eating pizza and refreshing their newsfeeds as they followed Fox News election alerts in LaFortune Ballroom, but the room emptied when media sources began to call the race as Obama’s.

Deirdre O’Leary, a Saint Mary’s freshman from Philadelphia, Penn., watched with the club as her home state went blue.

“I’m actually pretty shocked,” O’Leary said. “A couple of hours ago, it looked completely turned around. It didn’t seem it would be predicted as early as it was. I thought Mitt Romney was going to pull it out. I honestly thought he was going to win.”

The atmosphere at the College Republicans watch was one of solidarity for O’Leary.

“I wanted to watch the presidential results tonight with people with similar views to mine,” she said. “I was considering staying in my dorm with my little interactive map, but I just really wanted to be here in this atmosphere.”

For the majority of issues, O’Leary said she allied with the Republican Party.

“I think the Republican government will teach people how to be productive and create jobs that will help them get on their feet and really give people the motivation to succeed,” she said. “That’s what America is all about. I think we all need to get America back to work.”

O’Leary, who voted via absentee ballot last month, said she thought students in general were afraid to state their views publicly.

“You see it on Facebook,” she said. “If someone posts one thing about voting for Obama or Mitt Romney, 50 people comment and attack them.”

As the night progressed, the crowd cheered for each state win for the Republican ticket, such as North Carolina and Missouri.

Saint Mary’s freshman Gloria Zeiger shared the Republican victories with fellow party members, but she said she expected the Democratic win throughout the night.

“I thought Barack Obama was going to win the whole time because incumbent presidents almost always win,” Zeiger said.

As a South Bend resident, Zeiger went to the Marshall County polling booth Tuesday morning to cast her ballot. She said she voted mostly Republican.

 “I came because I liked knowing I’m not the only Republican around, because sometimes it does feel like that,” she said. “I think it’s important for us to stand up and show that young people have opinions.”

Sophomore Mark Gianfalla, the social affairs director for College Republicans, said he saw good debates coming from each candidate, and each big ticket issue affected the swing states differently.

“The American people elected the president they wanted, obviously not the person that I wanted, but that’s the beauty of the Electoral College,” he said.

Gianfalla, who is from Riverhead, N.Y., called himself “a little voice in a democratic state.”

“I think it’s sad that a lot of people on both sides don’t do as much research as they could and vote blindly,” Gianfalla said. “I think there’s room for improvement for people educating themselves on the issues. I’m looking forward to midterm elections in two years, and I hope the president’s four years are positive years for our country.”