Enthusiasm, concerns mark Obama’s triumph

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Mike Mezeul II/For the Denton Record-Chronicle
Jill and Lewis Benavides of Oak Point stay updated on the current electoral votes on their iPad while waiting for Congressman Michael Burgess to arrive at his watch party in Highland Village Tuesday night.

Denton County voters flocked to the polls Tuesday to elect a president, bringing concerns such as women’s rights, health care, education and the economy.

Party affiliations aside, voters said the election represented how America would be defined in the next few years. Many Denton County voters said they believed the country is heading down a dangerous path, while others believe it’s slowly recovering.

In the Celebrations Ballroom in Lewisville and at Sweetwater Grill & Tavern in Denton, Republicans and Democrats, respectively, held election watch parties. At both watch parties, voters expressed the same concerns as those in battleground states.

At the Republican watch party, voters said President Barack Obama and his administration’s handling of the economy, foreign threats and the national deficit were below expectations. Lamar Lex said he voted for Mitt Romney because Obama’s performance as president has been poor since the beginning of his term in 2008.

“The ways things are being handled overseas aren’t good,” Lex said. “It’s very important to have someone who is very strong in foreign affairs to make the United States a world leader.”

He said Obama’s presidency has been very poor, but he said he believes no matter who won the election, more work will need to be done by both parties.

“There needs to be very serious change in our economy,” he said.

Libby Goins, a University of North Texas student, campaigned for the Republican Party and said that voting is a right all Americans must exercise. However, she said this election is probably the most important election in the last 40 years.

“For college students, this election will define our futures,” she said. “We need someone who can keep the future of this country in focus.”

Phyllis Wolper, chairwoman for the Denton County Democratic Party, said her group has worked closely with Organizing for America. She said they have had a team in their headquarters from the Obama campaign for about a year now. She said it’s a grass-roots effort that has included phone banking and knocking on doors. About 75 percent of calls were to battleground states and other calls were made to local counties and areas around Texas.

The universal theme of those the group made contact with was “a sheer enthusiasm and hope for America going forward under President Obama’s second term, she said.

The people in attendance at the Democratic watch party were the faces of the country — “very diverse, very motivated but all-inclusive,” Wolper said

“It hasn’t been that many years that a gathering of the party would have looked all white,” she said.

Wolper said she met President Obama last fall, and she called him a man who cares for all people.

“He is the most openly … loving [person] to all people,” she said. “He exudes confidence in the future of all Americans.

“I have met both the first lady and the president and meeting them in person and finding how genuine they are and how much they love this country only made me personally want to work harder to ensure the president’s re-election.”

JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is jharden@dentonrc.com .

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876. Her e-mail address is btabor@dentonrc.com .


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