Tim Kubick / For The Lantern
By the time President Barack Obama had been re-elected Tuesday night, the once-hopeful mood at the Ohio Republican election night watch party had been diminished.
Reports that Obama won the election started surfacing at about 11:15 p.m. Tuesday evening. The announcement came soon after the media started reporting that Obama had won Ohio’s 18 electoral votes. With 99 percent of the state’s precincts reporting at about 2:45 a.m. Wednesday, Obama won with 50 percent of the vote, leading Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who captured 48 percent.
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown soundly defeated Republican Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel in the senatorial race, creating a somber mood for conservatives in the downtown Renaissance Hotel’s grand ballroom.
“I’m proud to stand up here,” said Mandel, who started off his concession speech by congratulating Brown on his win. “This isn’t the end of the fight; this is the beginning of the fight. The issues that we fight for don’t end tonight. We continue tonight.”
Mandel left the stage to a bellowing applause.
In all, 14 Republican politicians attended the event, including Gov. John Kasich, Mandel and Sen. Rob Portman.
The announcements that Issue 2 was defeated, the fact that Republicans will retain the majority of the U.S. House of Representatives and the re-election of Congressman Steve Stivers were all met with applause.
Issue 2 – a proposal to form a 12-person citizen committee to re-draw congressional and district lines – aimed to combat gerrymandering.
As the night progressed and the polls for the presidential race looked less promising for GOP supporters, the crowd noticeably dwindled. Ohio State student Brendan Elchynski stayed late into the night, though he did not consider the results ideal.
“Earlier I would have said it was swinging toward Romney,” Elchynski said. “But the numbers don’t have me optimistic.”
By about 11:30 p.m., the once packed Renaissance Hotel party room was close to empty.