CNN isnt usually the late-night entertainment at James Madison University parties. But with a Fox Hills apartment full of the College Democrats, the cable news network became the focus Tuesday night.
Blue was the theme of the evening: balloons, streamers, shirts and cups spread through the common rooms when the election party began at 7 p.m. Posters covered the walls as more than 100 supporters awaited the results. For weeks, many College Democrats campaigned for the Democratic Party and for some it was longer than two years. So it was their night to celebrate.
People are going to be excited late tonight, said junior David McKinney, president of the group. Its been eight years coming and its our time now.
Each time CNN projected a win for a state, the room quieted.
Shh, it might be Virginia, called out a student.
When Virginia was announced as a blue state at 11 p.m., the room erupted with energy.Students began screaming, hugging and even tackling each other.
Moments later, Obama was announced as president-elect and the party was just beginning.
Its so amazing and insane, freshman Katie OConnell said after the half hour of celebrating. Im still partially deaf from all the noise.
OConnell, an international affairs major, embraced the College Democrats at the beginning of the year to join like-minded people. After helping with the shuttles to the polls for eight hours on campus Tuesday, she was almost ready to go to sleep, but not quite. But even with a midterm Wednesday, she wasnt going to let go of this chance easily.
I never thought Id be at a party like this on a Tuesday, screamed OConnell over the chanting in the room. But most of the people in my dorm arent involved politically, so basically Id be watching this by myself. This is so much more fun and brings everyone together.
As preliminary results came on screen at 8 p.m., the local ABC news affiliate filmed the party. Students chanted to show pride for their candidate.
Barack! yelled someone in an Obama T-shirt.Obama! replied the rest of the energetic room.
McKinney, a finance major, was interviewed for the evening newscast.
Obviously, the local news is interested in what were doing, he said about the historic election.
Senior Michelle Woods hosted the party. She said she Obama-tized the apartment over the weekend to prepare.
All these kids worked so hard, the New York native said. I decorated so much to honor their work and dedication.
Students counted down each time another set of polls closed. With blue plastic Solo cups full of soda and beer in their hands, they hoped the night would be theirs.
While attendees stood together on the first floor, attendees upstairs sat on the floor, focused on the TV screen. Both rooms were full of anxious energy while waiting for the final announcement.
Weve definitely done a lot better than the other side, sophomore Parth Joshi said. Democrats this year are much more enthusiastic and excited. We had much more to gain.
Joshi, a finance major, joined the many students who voted for the first time in this presidential election. Born in India, the current Virginia Beach resident became a United States citizen in February.
Im always in the Obama office, Joshi said. If it wasnt for Barack, I wouldnt have spent this last year campaigning as much as I did.
Joshi led chants for the fired-up crowd.
Yes we can! carried through the increasingly crowded room.
Even though he had a test scheduled Wednesday, Joshi wasnt worried. The nightwas all about the election.
I think Barack winning is better than any class, Joshi said. This will probably be the best night of the year.