President Barack Obama won re-election to a second term last night. Ohioans elected Obama over Republican Mitt Romney by a two point margin.
Democrats who packed into the new Columbus Downtown Hilton ballroom were already giddy with excitement after U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown defeated Republican Challenger Josh Mandel. But when they saw news that President Barack Obama had enough votes to be re-elected, a loud roar went up in the ballroom.
Former Governor Ted Strickland said the President’s victory is a big win for ordinary Ohioans Obama represents.
"You know to all of those people who are so rich and arrogant who believe they could use their wealth to influence our state….I hope they are listening…..we kicked your rear ends," says Strickland.
After the event, Ohio Democratic party Chairman Chris Redfern said he believes President Obama’s bailout of the auto industry was a major factor in why Ohioans voted to re-elect him. And Redfern said he’s going after Ohio’s Governor on the issue next.
"It’s really remarkable that an incumbent governor of the state that depends so heavily on manufacturing, namely the American industry, would literally walk away from that industry and hold hands with Mitt Romney who believes then as he does now that Detroit should go bankrupt. You take out the word Detroit, you put in the name Defiance, Youngstown, Toledo, Parma, Cleveland and 82 of the 88 counties in the state that have an automobile business in them. It’s unheard of," says Redfern.
When asked whether the Republicans lost because they have become too closely aligned with the most conservative members of the party, Redfern responds this way:
"The Republican party has spent the better part of the last three years kissing the behind of the tea party. They’ve got chapped lips," says Redfern.
Meanwhile, 6 blocks away at a Republican gathering in downtown Columbus, some Romney supporters were shocked at their loss. Among them, Sonya Akin.
"I’m just speechless. It doesn’t make sense. We’re sad. We’re broken hearted. We are fearful for our country. It’s just sad," says Akin.
Another Romney backer was bitter about his defeat.
"Like Romney says 47% is a big number of those who want to take from those who work I guess and I’m sure that’s not a political correct answer but..." says Terry Smith.
Mike Dawson was another Romney supporter, but as a Republican number-cruncher, he had a different explanation for Obama’s victory…more of a demographic one:
"Romney did not perform well enough in the small and medium sized counties. He performed two or three points less than Bush did in 2004 in a whole number of counties and that’s what cost him the victory. And also you can see in the auto bailout counties that it really did make a difference," says Dawson.
Dawson was talking there about Republican counties in Northwest Ohio, surrounding the Toledo area, where President Obama did better than expected. The president had campaigned heavily in Ohio on his support for the federal auto industry bailout….and on Ohio’s unemployment rate, which had dropped from 10.6 per cent to 7 per cent.