Election Night on the Hill

Will Briggs Burton ’16

This past Tuesday, November 6, was Election Day. All the campaigning, advertising, speechifying, and politicizing of the past eighteen months all led up to that night and the final counting of the votes. After 7pm, when the first polls officially closed, Hampden-Sydney students settled in in front of their televisions to watch the results of our lifetime’s most historic election.
In the Tiger Inn, every television was set to a national or local news channel that was frantically reporting returns. Some students watched here as the election results came in, discussing the implications of each state won and lost and how that state’s choice would affect the election at large.
In the Wilson Center, many students watched the election with the professors. A lively atmosphere of idea exchange prevailed over this gathering as the professors continually conversed about the long-term political future of the United States depending on the election’s winner.
From 7:00 PM to around 9:00 PM, the electoral count seemed to be in Governor Romney’s favor. The only returns had come in from Southern and Midwestern states that had gone solidly red, and Ohio, Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina were all still too close to call. Governor Romney seemed to be having a good night.
By 9:00, however, this early lead was level out into a breakneck tie, with both candidates often having the same count of electoral votes. The first real blows to Gov. Romney’s bid came as New Hampshire and Pennsylvania both went for President Obama. Both of these states, some pundits had predicted, might have gone for Governor Romney by a narrow margin, but it was not to be.
Soon, as President Obama racked up more and more northern states, Governor Romney’s only path was to win the four remaining too-close-to-call swing states and then several others across the board. For Governor Romney, this was a tall order to fill.
By 11:00 PM, as the West Coast state returns filtered in, the deadlock tie broke and the electoral vote count lurched heavily in favor of President Obama. California and Washington’s combined 67 electoral votes built a heady lead for the President that Governor Romney had only one way to counteract: Ohio, Virginia, and Florida.
It was not to be. Virginia was still a virtual tie, as was Florida, but finally the Ohio results came in and it was called for Obama. The election was, in effect, over, and President Barack Obama had won a second term as the President of the United States of America.

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