Hundreds of GW students packed the Hippodrome Tuesday night for an election night bash sponsored by the Program Board. Students waded in a pool of leather couches and folding chairs to keep watch on the latest election results pouring in from across the nation on CNN and the Fox News Channel.
The crowd was a potpourri of political identifications, with self-proclaimed Republicans, Democrats, independents, libertarians and socialists all coming together to see who would take control of Congress as the entire House and a third of the Senate went up for grabs. Students sported stickers, buttons and T-shirts bearing partisan slogans, logos and candidates’ names.
“A lot of spirited people showed up,” said freshman Jared Parks, a Republican.
Partygoers were actively engaged in how the electoral field was being shaped.
“The House looks like a lost cause for us at this point,” said law student Sanford Holmes, a Democrat. “But I think we have a shot at the Senate and an even better chance with the governors.”
But many Democrats’ hopes fell as Republicans took over Democratic Senate seats in Georgia, Minnesota and Missouri.
Many students in attendance who had helped campaign for some of the candidates in Tuesday’s races through the College Republicans or College Democrats said that they felt a more personal stake in the mid-term election.
The Program Board provided free pizza, billiards and bowling, as well as a raffle drawing and a political poster contest.
As the night grew old, things were looking better for the Republicans. Several of what were thought to be the closest races churned out victories for Republican candidates, including Bob Ehrlich’s defeat of Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend in the Maryland gubernatorial race, which drew an especially strong reaction from the crowd.
Some students, who did not identify with a particular party, said they felt the event at the Hippodrome and American politics in general were too partisan.
Junior Ryan Anderson, a libertarian, and his sumo opponent Justin Scheid, a socialist, said they were frustrated with the current trends of the American electoral roadmap.
As the pizza supply dwindled and more races were decided, students began to make their way out of the Hippodrome.
Republican candidates in hotly contested Senate races in Colorado and Minnesota opened up wider margins and already outnumbered Democrats were increasingly hard to spot. By the time the Hippodrome closed at 2 a.m., Republicans had established a majority in both the Senate and the House, with several seats remaining too close to call.
Virginia Congressman Tom Davis spoke to the College Republicans on Wednesday night at the University Club to sum up the elections. Davis, who serves as Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee spoke to a very delighted audience of more than two dozen students.
“We made history yesterday,” Davis said. “We’re very, very happy.”
He also criticized congressional Democrats for their frustration and likeliness to feud with Republicans.
-Matt Windman contributed to this report.