The break in the gloomy weather, a morning of bright sunshine; it all boded well for a solid Election Day turnout. And as darkness fell and the polls closed, the Democratic Party faithfully gathered at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 5 Union Hall on Pittsburgh’s South Side to watch the returns.
|GIVE HIM A HAND—James Williams III, left, cheers alongside Rev. Glenn Grayson for Barack Obama’s win for re-election of president of the United States.
There were really only seven states they needed to pay attention to to ensure President Obama’s re-election and if the first few dominos fell the right way, Pennsylvania wasn’t even one of them.
State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Hill District, didn’t expect any upsets.
“Unlike many of your colleagues in the press, I think President Obama will do better than he did against John McCain,” he said. “He’ll take Pennsylvania and Ohio. And I think he’ll take Virginia and Florida too.”
Pittsburgh Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle didn’t see it going quite that far.
“I think it will be a convincing victory that sends a message about people coming together and getting about the work of making things better for each other.”
Both said making sure Sen. Bob Casey routed challenger Tom Smith and U.S. Rep. Mark Critz defeated Keith Rothfus for the reconfigured 12th Congressional District were still important, as was the state senate race for John Pippy’s former seat pitting current state Rep. Matt Smith, D-Mt. Lebanon, against Raja.
By 8:30 p.m., Wheatley and Lavelle had already departed. As cheers went up for Obama and Casey wins in Pennsylvania, former Allegheny County Councilwoman Brenda Frazier said she would stick around until everything was official.
“He ran a good campaign,” she said. “People vote for their own. Not just for their pocketbooks, but for who can do better for the people. I’m looking for great things across the state.”
She didn’t have to look far. Within minutes, CNN called the senate race for Casey. Moments later they called Pennsylvania for the president. Doyle and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald took the stage and fired up the crowd even more.
“We have a lot to be proud of. You have a lot to be proud of,” he said. “I was all over the county today and I have never seen a turnout like today.”
Doyle thanked everyone, including all their labor allies including their hosts the IBEW.
“Pennsylvania is a blue state! Since 1988, Pennsylvania is a blue state,” he screamed. “Mitt Romney thought he could come here six days from the election and throw a Hail Mary pass. Well, this is Steelers country and we don’t allow that here.”
To have any chance at unseating the president without Pennsylvania, Romney needed to carry two of three states, Ohio, Florida and Virginia. Without Ohio, he would have needed Colorado and Wisconsin.
Then CNN called Wisconsin for the president, then U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, was announced as winning his re-election bid. It was all over but the coup de gras.
“We wanted Obama to bring it home for everybody and continue to do the things we need to get the economy back on track,” said state Rep.-elect Ed Gainey. “A Barack win is a win for America.”
That win came with the official call of Ohio goes to Obama.