Juneau Republicans and Democrats said they were optimistic late Tuesday as President George W. Bush grabbed an electoral lead but couldn't yet claim victory over Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.
"You've got to have faith, miles and miles of faith," sang Mary Ebona-Miller, who calls herself 100-percent Democrat. "There's still hope."
Bush led Kerry in popular and electoral votes at press time, with the election hinging on Ohio's count.
At press time, 128,570 Alaskan votes had been counted for Bush and 70,455 went to Kerry. Independent Ralph Nader had earned 3,270 votes in the state.
The close split in votes across the nation also was evident around Juneau.
On Tuesday evening, supporters of Democrats held signs for Alaska House candidate Bob Doll at the intersection of Glacier Highway and Egan Drive. A pro-Republican group waved signs for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and state Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch across the street.
"The president's administration has policies that are harmful for most people in the country and around the world," said Barbara Learmonth, who held a Doll sign in the rain. "I want a better world for my children."
Across the street stood Kathy Schutte, a lifelong Republican.
"President Bush is doing the right thing for the country," Schutte said. "I think he is trying to do the right thing for the working folks to make sure the money doesn't go to the government, to make sure the money stays in the family."
At the Goldbelt Hotel, Democrats watched the election results on the second floor while Republican Weyhrauch celebrated his victory on the ground floor.
"I feel our country will be safe with President Bush in office. I wish him Godspeed," said Charlotte Richards, at Weyhrauch's party. She said she was a Democrat before becoming a Republican about eight years ago.
Ebona-Miller watched the election results from a Goldbelt Hotel suite with other Alaska Natives.
"I have blue blood in my veins," said Ebona-Miller, who wore a pin that said, "I am Tlingit. I vote."
"I don't like President Bush's military path, his points of view and his religious beliefs. I don't like anything about him."
While Ebona-Miller remained hopeful, Mike Peterson said he was depressed.
"Unless something magic happens, Bush will win," said Peterson, a Democrat. "I don't feel positive about his first four years. And I don't feel optimistic about his next four years."
I-Chun Che can be reached at email@example.com.
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