Some 150 Democratic boosters and party leaders gathered at the Hilton Hotel on Rockville Pike to watch the Election Day results, which doubled as a viewing party for results from the presidential race and for U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s run at the newly redrawn 8th Congressional district.
When Patch arrived at around 10 p.m., Van Hollen had already steamrolled past Republican challenger Ken Timmerman for the win. So all attention keened in on the large projection screen at the front of the room toggling back and forth among the TV news networks for updates of the presidential race.
Cheers went up when up as George Allen conceded his Senate race in Virginia to Democrat Tim Kaine, then again as the Democrats secured control of the Senate.
But Obama still trailed Romney in the Electoral College. Then came Hawaii. Then Iowa. Then Washington. And then, at 11:18 p.m., CNN projected an Obama victory in Ohio that pushed him past the 270 electoral votes needed for re-election.
The room erupted in celebration. Democratic comrades fell into each other’s effusive embrace, giddily mugged for photos and took to their smart phones to spread the news.
The mirth lingered on for more than half an hour, stoked up every time another state—Virginia, Colorado, Nevada—went Obama’s way and another network called the Democratic victory.