Grijalva keeps seat, other local races too close to call
Although the winners were clear in some districts as the polls closed and precincts reported numbers early Wednesday morning, some races remain too close to call.
For District 3, which includes the UA campus, a victory by Democratic incumbent Raúl Grijalva over Republican candidate Gabriela Saucedo Mercer was clear, with 181 of 189 precincts reporting Grijalva’s 56.37 percent to Mercer’s 39.17 percent. Libertarian candidate Blanca Guerra trailed in with 4.32 percent.
District 2’s outcomes weren’t quite as clear, but Republican candidate Martha McSally, as of Tuesday night, held the lead at 50.23 percent to Barber’s 49.74 percent, according to reports by 209 of the 216 precincts. Barber took the seat in a special election in June after the departure of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Starting Tuesday evening, candidates from both sides of the aisle held election parties, with Barber and Grijalva’s gathering taking place in a ballroom in the Tucson Marriott University Park. Mercer’s election party met at the Sheraton Tucson on Grant Road, while McSally’s met at the Radisson Suites Tucson on Speedway Boulevard.
Tyler Besh / Arizona Daily Wildcat Tucson democrats celebrate President Barack Obama's re-election at the University Marriott on Nov. 6, 2012.
Blue support stays strong amid Obama’s re-election
Wine flowed, Bon Jovi played and strangers embraced as hundreds of patriotically ornamented Tusconans cheered the announcement of President Barack Obama’s re-election.
Hundreds flocked in support of the President and Arizona democratic candidates to the Tucson Marriott University Park ballroom, where the Pima County Democratic Party held its election party. Supporters eagerly awaited results, mingling in a sea of red, white and blue tuning into outcomes nationwide, before erupting to the news of Obama’s victory.
Democratic supporters said they believed Mitt Romney lacked authenticity and was out-of-touch with hard-working Americans, as every nomination captured by the red was met with jeers. Fist pumps, ovations and even tears met any mention or hint at possible blue victories.
Deciding topics for attendee’s votes ranged from health care, to the dream act, to jobs, but all agreed Obama’s re-election is a sign of hope to mend America.
“I’m a retired nurse, and I’ve seen how difficult it is for some people to get helath care and to manage with what little they have,” said Clare Velonis, a democratic supporter, who added that she had heard Romney would reverse the Affordable Care Act, leaving many without health care. “You’ve got to have everybody in the picture.”
Manny Arreguin, a former Democratic candidate for District 3 who lost to Grijalva in the September primaries, also showed up to show his support for not only local candidates, but President Obama as well.
Arreguin said it was important to “give the president more time to do what he wants to do,” adding that he hoped for better relationships with politicians across the aisle.
“I hope the Republicans change their attitude … they really need to work together, so I’m hoping that will happen,” he said.
While Barber’s race remained too close to call on Tuesday night, Grijalva addressed the crowd after a clear win. During his speech, Grijalva mentioned the Republican stance toward immigration.
“You cannot marginalize people by who and what they look like,” he said.
Red voters fade following national defeat
A once-crowded room with hundreds of Tucson Republicans sipping drinks, discussing politics and waiting for election results turned into a near-empty room after Obama’s victory was announced Tuesday night.
Few stuck around after 10 p.m. to await local results and discuss the presidential turnout. Mercer said early on that she had “a feeling that we’re going to have a new president,” adding that Obama’s victory “hurts.”
“We cannot afford four more years of Barack Hussein Obama,” she said. “He is going to destroy our country.”
Mercer added that she was proud of her campaign, which she ran without millions of dollars in donations from big companies and with unpaid volunteers.
“My campaign was 100 percent grassroots,” Mercer said. “All the money that we raised was from people. It was not from the big donors.”
Jack Arnold, a public policy and administration senior and member of the UA’s College Republicans said the Republican Party needs to shift more toward libertarianism and let go of some of the social issues that have been discussed in this election.
“We’re at the point now where the Republican Party needs to move into the 21st century if they want to continue getting elected to office,” he said.
Tucsonans kept their hopes up as local election ballots continued to be counted Tuesday night.
Arnold wasn’t surprised with the recent results of the 3rd Congressional District, he said. Grijalva’s constituents were concerned about immigration and were not willing to support a candidate who supported SB1070, he added.
Mark Napier, the associate director of operations for UA Parking and Transportation services and the Republican candidate for Pima County sheriff said although he was nervous waiting for results, he was willing to accept whatever happened.
“There’s still a whole lot of votes out there to be counted,” Napier said late Tuesday night. “We ran a campaign we can be proud of and whatever turns out turns out.”
Unofficial results show Democratic candidate Clarence Dupnik ahead of Napier 50 percent to 46.98 percent.