By Kevin Werner, News Staff
About 60 transplanted Americans anxiously watched the CNN broadcast Nov. 6 of the U.S. presidential election at Kelsey’s Restaurant in west Hamilton, cheering for every Democratic win, as they urged U.S. President Barack Obama to take enough electoral votes to beat back Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney.
“The mood is cautiously optimistic,” said Ken Sherman, the international chair for Democrats Abroad. “They are ready to celebrate, probably at four in the morning.”
It didn’t take that long, with media calling the race for Obama at about midnight, for a second-four-year term.He took 303 electoral votes to Romney’s 206.
The Democrats retain the Senate with 51 races to 45 for the Republicans. The Republicans did hold onto the House of Representatives with 231 races to 191.
Craig Trotman, 59, a mountain resident, was concerned early in the race about Obama’s prospects, with political pundits suggesting the race would be close.
“I don’t feel real good,” said the former Republican, who lived in California for 30 years, and was the deputy sheriff of a county. “I don’t want the Republicans to win.”
He voted for Republican president Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984 while he lived in the Golden State starting in 1977.
Trotman, who met Sherman when he returned to Hamilton with his family and registered as a Democratic 2007, said he’s suspicious of Romney’s agenda.
“I don’t like big money,” he said. “I think Obama is honest. There is no magic bullet to solve the issues. It takes time.”
Sherman, who cast his absentee vote in New York State for Obama about six weeks ago, said Democrats in this election are “more motivated” to campaign for Obama this time around rather than in 2008 when he won going away against George W. Bush with his “hope and change” theme. Four years ago at Kelsey’s, there were about 150 people who turned out to celebrate Obama’s historic victory.
Sherman said voter registration this year was up 30 per cent from four years ago in support of Obama. Democrats Abroad, with between 700,000 to one million people in Canada, has more Democrats than in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. Democrats Abroad held 14 events across Canada, while Republicans Abroad had only one event in Toronto scheduled during the U.S.election.
“I think we, like the party, are better organized at the grass roots for this election,” said Sherman, who attended the Democratic convention in August as a voting delegate.
Sherman even registered his 100-year-old mother, Editta Sherman, popularly known as the Duchess of Carnegie, who lived and worked as a photographer in the Carnegie Hall Artist Studio in New York City, to vote in this election. It’s the first time she has voted in years, he said.
“She loves Obama,” he said.
Sherman, who saw 85,000 Democrats abroad register for this election world-wide, said the Democratic presidential campaign for 2012 was created two years ago by the party, with improved structures across key battleground states such as Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania, and targeting voting blocks, such as African Americans, Latino, and seniors.
“It’s a local message, a determined message,” he said. “You don’t have as in 2008 a broad sweeping overall message.”
That type of micro-organization proved critical as Obama won Ohio and Pennsylvania, and he held a slight lead in Florida. Sherman said the key state for him is Virginia. If Romney wins it, he has a good chance of taking the presidency. Obama took Virginia with a razor-thin 51 per cent to 48 per cent of the vote. Sherman last night projected Obama winning 303 electoral votes. To win the contest, a candidate needs to take 270 electoral votes.
“There are no surprises yet in the battleground states,” said Sherman. “I’m disappointed in the numbers from Virginia. It could be a long night.”