MIDWEST CITY — Democrats in Oklahoma settled in Tuesday for what was expected to be a rough night in local elections, but favorable early results in swing states bolstered their hopes for the national election.
“People are excited. They're expecting some victories,” state Democratic Party Chairman Wallace Collins said.
State Democrats held their election watch party at the Reed Conference Center, adjacent to the Sheraton Hotel. A band played jazz music and pop covers on the second floor of the conference center, while supporters watched local and national election results come in on large televisions.
About 500 people roamed the conference center Tuesday night, socializing with like-minded voters and surrounding the TVs in semicircles while drinking cocktails and snacking on food from a buffet.
Most of the signage posted around the conference center supported President Barack Obama's ticket. Democrats were expected to be beaten decisively, by and large, in Oklahoma races, but were hopeful of a win on the presidential ticket nationally.
Media outlets immediately projected Mitt Romney to win Oklahoma when local polls closed, as expected. The crowd met the news with silence. As the night wore on, national election results revealed a tight race in swing states. Positive news for Obama and other Democrats was met with applause.
Early results showed Democrats were trailing in the race to control the state Legislature, congressional races. The seat belonging to U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee, was expected to change party hands. He did not seek re-election.
One of the biggest cheers of the night came when media outlets projected Obama would win Wisconsin, a swing state and the home of GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.