As breaking-news banners flashed over television screens that showed Barack Obama was projected to win the presidency, jubilant D.C. Democrats erupted in celebration at the Madison Hotel Tuesday night.
Dancing, crying and drinking accompanied Obama’s wins in key states – Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Ohio and finally Virginia – before he clinched the executive office.
“This is a great night for our country,” said D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, who described himself as “exuberant” about the night’s atmosphere.
Though Obama’s election was the centerpiece of the evening, candidates from local races were also present to celebrate their races and victories. Incumbent D.C. Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss and incumbent Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., retained their seats in victories Tuesday night.
“Personally, I’m gratified by my own re-election. I received the highest percentage of my career,” Strauss said in an interview. “But participating in such a historic event for our country . is such a thrill.”
Friends and constituents surrounded Norton in her suite in the Madison. Voters frequently went in and out of the open door to meet the congresswoman who offered words of support during the evening.
“I’m completely happy,” said Adrian Frasier, a Democrat. “We are all a part of America. We were able to re-roll the dice and become a massive community of Americans.”
The crowd banded together, chanting “Yes we did,” a spin on Obama’s emblematic refrain, while hugging strangers and finding friends.
And not all the Democrats were local.
Three Dutch students joined the Democrats’ celebration and expressed joy in the hope they said Obama has given the rest of the world.
“All of Europe loves Obama,” Glen Ottagensen said. “This election will help America’s reputation with the rest of the world. Besides, we despise Sarah Palin.”
Dancing and shouts of joy for the newly elected president Obama closed the evening. Many attendees were brought to tears, sobbing that “this was the night we have been waiting for.”
“The last eight years has made people wake up to politics and its importance,” said Democrat Melanie Hayes. “There is something bigger than us going on, and it’s so exciting.”