Juneau Democrats sat placidly in their seats at Centennial Hall as they watched the electoral votes roll in for Barack Obama.
They didn't seem worried. Asked what they were hoping for this election, they all went long.
"I'm hoping the national Republican Party will be laid to rest for the next 20 years, with their crackpot ideas," Stuart Cohen said.
Then came 7 p.m., and the room erupted. NBC News had called it. Obama had 297 electoral votes, far more than the 270 needed to win.
Cheers came as swing states came in: Colorado. Florida.
The big screen at Centennial Hall showed people in Harlem, Chicago and people all over the country in tears.
So, too, was Maureen Longworth.
She wished her father had been there to see this election, she said. Her mother, at 86, had sent her first-ever text message to her seven children earlier that day.
"Quit the drama, your mama says 'Vote Obama,' " the message said.
The room of Democrats quieted as John McCain appeared on the screen at 7:18 to concede.
"The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly," he said.
McCain called Gov. Sarah Palin "one of the best campaigners I have ever seen," and said "we can all look forward" to her political future."
At that, some in the crowd booed.
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