It was a frenzied scene at Mobile County Republican Party headquarters Tuesday evening as early results showed GOP nominee Donald Trump’s path to the presidency opening up. While members of the county’s Democratic Party were cautiously optimistic.
“It’s not over yet,” Mobile County Democratic Executive Committee Chairwoman Vivian Beckerle said at the organization’s watch party at Island Wing Company. “There are a lot of key states left and there haven’t been too many surprises.”
A surprise for both sides, based on early polling, was just how close the race turned out to be. Robert Moseley, a GOP member and head of the party’s ballot security, openly questioned the accuracy of those polls.
“It looks like some of the polls appear to be a little bit off,” he said. “We’re either going to find out the polls were accurate, or the numbers were skewed and it appears right now that the numbers were skewed.”
On the Democratic side, Beckerle said the race is “closer than we’d like.”
“You know, it’s OK,” she said. “Hard-fought, close races probably make use stronger.”
GOP members seemed much more excited, at least early on, as a television tuned to Fox News kept them updated with the results from inside party headquarters. At one point, State Auditor Jim Zeigler shouted to the person sitting next to him that he was calling Virginia for Trump.
John Skipper, chairman of the Mobile County Republican Executive Committee, said there has been excitement throughout the campaign for the GOP nominee.
“People have worked so hard,” Skipper said. “There has been a dedicated effort toward the campaign.”
The enthusiasm, Skipper said, comes from the party’s view that the country has drifted away from the ideals they were used to.
“We’ve all seen our country drift so far to one side and differently from when we grew up,” Skipper said.
The mood inside Island Wing Company, where the Democrats watched CNN returns was much more somber, at least early on.
“Every year that I’ve been involved with politics, I’ve said ‘it’s an interesting year,’” Beckerle said. “This year has been an interesting year.”