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Local Democrats celebrate Obama’s overwhelming win

By Staff | Nov 10, 2008

MCKENZIE CASSIDY Members of the Democratic Club of Lee County and supporters of President-elect Barack Obama held their victory party Tuesday at the Santa Barbara Clubhouse Restaurant in Cape Coral. Supporters cheered minutes after 11 p.m. when national news networks announced that Obama would be the 44th President of the United States.

After a rough year persevering through a Democratic primary against Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, and a challenging presidential race against Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the 44th presidential-elect Barack Obama can finally say “yes I did.”

Obama reached the necessary 270 electoral points minutes after 11 p.m. in a historical election that will bring an African-American man to the White House for the first time in history. At the end, Obama received 338 electoral votes and McCain received 127.

After the announcement of Obama’s victory, dozens of Democrats celebrating at the Santa Barbara Club House in Cape Coral began to cheer and pick up their cell phones to call friends and relatives with the good news.

Obama won Florida’s 27 electoral votes which went to President George Bush in both 2000 and 2004.

While he didn’t receive the vote in Lee County, Obama was able to pick up some votes from Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg and other regions throughout the state. Locally, McCain received 54.7 percent of the vote, or some 145,624 votes, while Obama received 44.4 percent of the vote, or 117,878 votes.

At approximately 11:30 p.m. McCain officially conceded from the race. While some of his supporters expressed disappointment with his decision, McCain said that “the American people have spoken, and spoken clearly,” according to the Associated Press.

Cape Coral resident Rosa Raiola said she voted for Obama because of his environmental policy and that his education policy will help students.

“I voted for Barack Obama because he is trying to get green jobs and his policies help out college students,” said Raiola.

Specific demographics from the race won’t be available until later, but Raiola said she believes more voters, aged 18 to 24, voted in this election than ever before.

Teressa Coker, who has lived in Cape Coral for the last two years, said she supported Obama’s economic policy.

“He’s (Obama) willing to help the middle class, so we’re hoping he’s going to help the poor, too,” said Coker.

Other voters on Tuesday said in passing that “I wanted to make sure I got my vote out,” while another candidly said “I just don’t want Obama to win.”

One resident, Joe LaGrange, wouldn’t say who he voted for, but said he was looking forward to change.

“This country has been heading in the wrong direction and this gives us a chance to get it right,” said LaGrange.

Some analysts believed that Obama’s chances would be affected by the “Bradley Effect,” where voters decide against an African-American candidate at the last minute. It was named for former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley who ran for governor and lost even though a poll put him ahead of his opponent.

But on Tuesday Obama picked up many states that have traditionally voted Republican including Florida and Colorado, as well as picking up many of the battleground states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Iowa.