The crowd of about 100 Juneau Democrats grew steadily rowdier after their man won the election, but they went nuts when Barack Obama finally appeared on the big screen at Centennial Hall.
"Change has come to America," President-elect Obama said.
Below him on the screen the Electoral College count showed Obama beating John McCain 338 to 156.
They cried, they danced, they hugged each other. They laughed and clapped.
"I can hardly stay in my own skin right now," said Tonya Roust, a preschool teacher. "This'll be important for my grandkids someday."
"He is a healer," said Pat White, a psychotherapist. "We're talking about transformation! Caterpillar to butterfly."
"This is an election for young people," said Shirley Campbell, a former teacher.
The general consensus was that McCain had conceded with grace.
Local races paled in the face of the Democrats' national victory — at least for the time being. Alaska precincts are expected to report around 8:30, and Democratic candidate Mark Begich plans to call the Juneau party after that.
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