N.C. State Reactions Mixed Following Historic Election

This story was written by Derek Medlin, Technician


Following hours of political analysis and election projections on several networks, the news of victories by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kay Hagan and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bev Perdue brought about extremely mixed reactions from North Carolina State University students Tuesday night.

Voters fought bad weather and long lines to turn out in record numbers to elect new leaders.

In state, the presidential race -- which will be remembered as one of the tightest in North Carolina history -- Democratic candidate Barack Obama secured victory by fewer than 50,000 votes. North Carolina was one of the final states projected by networks and proved to be one the closest in the country.

Nationally, Obama won a landslide of electoral college votes and secured the election by 11 p.m.

Ches McDowell, freshman in political science and chair of College Republicans, said he was disappointed with the result of all the major elections.

"If Hillary Clinton was president, I would be concerned. If John Edwards was president, I would be disturbed. But with Barack Obama as president, I'm petrified," McDowell said. "It's scary that somebody with no experience is going to run this country for the next four years."

Obama's victory in North Carolina was the first time the Tar Heel state had voted for a Democratic candidate for president since 1976.

Derek Gatlin, a senior in sociology and member of Students for Obama, said he was relieved by Obama's victory.

"It was a sigh of relief," Gatlin said of the Obama victory. "I don't even know how to describe my initial reaction. Everyone started screaming. It was insane."

Sen. John McCain praised Obama for what he accomplished in the election following network projections of an Obama victory.

"Obama inspired the hopes of millions of Americans," McCain said. "I've always believed America offers opportunity for all who have the will to ahcieve. Sen. Obama believes this also."

When Sen. Obama spoke in front of more than 70,000 supporters in Chicago at midnight, he praised the American people for being a part of the Democratic process.

"Americans sent a message to the world ... we are and always will be the United States of America," Obama said. "Change has come to America."

The North Carolina U.S. Senate race, between incumbant Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole and state Sen. Kay Hagan, saw Hagan win by more than 8 percent.

In the contest for governor, North Carolina did what it has done more often than not since the 1960s by electing democratic candidate Bev Perdue. Perdue is the first female governor in the state's history.

Gatlin said the 2008 election was special for many reasons, especially because of the impact of the youth vote and the amount of people who voted.

"The historic part of this election is that this many people [were] involved in the Democratic process," Gatlin said. "Blue, red or independent, people should be celebrating the fact so many people were involved."
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