Expecting an extremely close finish in Tuesday’s presidential election, local voters spent the night glued to televisions and smartphones waiting for media outlets to announce who the next president would be.
“Obama’s gonna win. All the way. You write down that I said that,” said Mary Gaskins, of Galloway Township. “He’s just got to. Just for him being him.”
Her prediction appeared to come true shortly after 11:15 p.m., when CNN and other news outlets projected that President Barack Obama won re-election against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Gaskins was with other Atlantic County Democrats at a watch party at the former Admiral Nissan building in Pleasantville. Many, dressed in hats and shirts with Obama’s signature “Yes we can” slogan, gathered around a television tuned to MSNBC for the results. Earlier in the night, news that Democrats had won control of Brigantine’s City Council for the first time in the city’s history only intensified enthusiasm.
Obama won New Jersey by a large margin, with about 60 percent of the vote. But locally, plenty of Romney supporters could be found.
Thomas Lacovara, of Linwood, said his vote went to Romney because he believes Romney is more experienced.
“I believe that Romney has the qualifications to lead us both nationally and internationally,” said Lacovara, a licensed public adjuster whose days have recently been focused on looking at flood damage from Hurricane Sandy. “Tomorrow morning, we’ll see who does agree with me.”
Since Sandy hit South Jersey last week, destroying neighborhoods, conversation has turned to how the devastation might affect voter turnout. Locally, four Atlantic County polling places were moved, and voters on Long Beach Island were redirected to Stafford Township. However, the changes were not expected to affect the outcome of the presidential election, as the worst storm damage did not occur in swing states.
At Ventura’s Offshore Cafe in Northfield, many gathered around the bar to watch the results. There, all four televisions were tuned to CNN, and most of the conversation centered on the election.
Fred Gunnison, 25, of Northfield, and his friend, Kevin Nelson, 26, also of Northfield, said they both supported Romney.
“For me, it’s mainly about the military,” said Gunnison, a Navy veteran who was stationed in Iraq in 2009. “I was over there (in Iraq) after Obama got elected, and I’ll just say that I wasn’t happy with his policies and his support of the military. I think Romney can do a better job.”
Nelson was less adamant about the reason for his vote.
“It really hasn’t seemed to affect me, what Obama was doing,” he said.
Back at the Atlantic County Democratic headquarters, Yolanda Cooper, of Absecon, and Betty Barr, of Pleasantville, disagreed, as did other Democrats who said Obama has worked for greater equality, especially in the way of health care reform.
Barr said she went to Washington, D.C., for Obama’s inauguration four years ago and would go again if he is victorious.
“He’s got this. It’s gonna be signed, sealed, delivered,” Cooper said.
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