• WisPolitics


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

 8:50 PM 

Dems cheer, Republicans silent at call for Obama

Dems cheered the national networks' decision to call Wisconsin for Obama early, while Republicans seemed resigned to it.

About 250 people had already gathered at Monona Terrace in downtown Madison when the networks made the call.

State Dem Chair Joe Wineke mused, "It must have been a forgone conclusion. It only took them a minute to call Wisconsin for Obama."

Democrats continued filing in after the announcement, and Gov. Jim Doyle was shaking hands among the small, early crowd.

The room at the Country Springs Hotel in Pewaukee, where Republicans gathered to watch returns, was largely quiet after the call was made.

State Sen. Ted Kanavas, R-Brookfield, said Obama's victory didn't depress the crowd because it was expected. He said the tighter races around the state in Senate and Assembly races will better test the crowd.

"I don't think anyone expected Senator McCain to win Wisconsin," Kanavas said. "We had seen too much polling that said this year Wisconsin is going for Obama."
More people were filling in the hotel. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen have both made appearances but no speeches yet. Van Hollen is making his rounds with Wisconsin television stations while other GOP revelers fill in.

UPDATE: A delighted Doyle thanked the crowd in Madison profusely for Obama's win in Wisconsin. He said his support here made it possible for him to focus on states like Florida, Ohio and Indiana.

"We need change," Doyle said. "I would have voted for anybody for change. I had the great privilege this year to vote for a man with incredible vision who has talked honestly and decently with America's people."

At the GOP party, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and Republican Party of Wisconsin Chair Reince Priebus made their first podium appearances of the night and insisted to revelers that Wisconsin has not been lost to Obama.

Van Hollen said people should not give up their hopes until all the votes are counted. He reminded the audience of one Wisconsin news station that called the 2006 election for his opponent, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, right as the polls closed.

Priebus said he hadn't even had a beer yet when a reporter called him around 8 p.m. for a reaction to Obama's reported victory in Wisconsin. Even so, Priebus gave some indication that the night might hold bad news yet for Republicans.

"I realize that we are in a rebuilding process in the party," he told the crowd.

-- By Keegan Kyle and Tracy Will

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