While former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney failed to top Obama in last night's election, Romney did garner more votes in Ontario County. Local residents share their reaction to the results.
By 11 p.m. Tuesday night, most of the city Democrats had already headed home from their election night gathering spot at The Green Front Restaurant on Niagara Street. But the small group that remained broke into a chorus of celebration after results in Ohio were reported, and it became apparent that President Barack Obama would be re-elected.
“Four years wasn’t enough to complete this recovery. He needs four more years,” said Democratic City Councilmember Karen White. “It gives me a lot of hope that the country will be more united, and will continue to look forward.”
While former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney failed to top Obama, Romney did garner more votes in Ontario County. According to the Ontario County Board of Elections, Romney had 21,768 votes to Obama’s 20,777 votes, based on 98 percent of the voting results in the county.
Democrat and Canandaigua city councilmember Maria Bucci agreed with White and other Democrats gathered in Canandaigua that Obama deserved another term.
“President Obama — that night when he won the election in 2008 — he was very realistic about what he could accomplish,” Bucci said. “He said it was going to take a lot of effort, and it was going to take a long-term commitment, and he said to all of us, ‘don’t expect this change to happen over night.’”
Not everyone was optimistic about what the next four years will bring the country.
Curt Smith, a former speech writer for George H.W. Bush and Messenger Post columnist, said that tactically, Obama ran a good campaign, but he didn’t prove in his first term that he knows how to create jobs or is able or willing to work across the aisle.
“It’s not easy to win an election with an economy in shambles,” Smith said. “...Obama should have lost, and lost big.”
Smith, a registered Republican who voted for Obama in the 2008 election and Romney this year, said Romney has proven his ability to create jobs.
“There’s no evidence at all that anything will be different in the second term,” he said. “I think we could have had a really impressive president and a president who would have brought us together.”
Republicans from the area met at The Inn on the Lake on South Main Street in Canandaigua. And while they were happy with many of the results — including Tom Reed’s victory in the 23rd Congressional District — they were disappointed with the results of the presidential race.
“I’m just not confident that in the next four years this guy is going to be able to cut the mustard,” said Steve Barnhoorn, a Republican councilmember from Richmond. “But I would like to see — for the country’s sake — the president of the United States succeed.”
Page 2 of 2 - Republicans in Victor were also unhappy with President Obama’s victory.
“I fear more of the same,” said Eleanor Barry of Victor, who has voted in 67 consecutive elections. “More government, more ways of taxing and getting money for different things. Because they’re going to want more things, so they’re going to find ways of getting it.”
Kevin Merriman, also of Victor, voiced apprehension about what the health care law — Obama’s signature legislation — will do to the economy.
"It will slow or deter our recovery,” he said. “I (would have liked) to see a business person run the country like a business. I think that would (have been) a big change — where profits and losses matter, and you don’t spend it if you don’t have it. You know, like we all live.”
While opinions on the results were split, all agreed that the high turnout rate in Ontario County was a plus.
According to Joan Luther, clerk of the county Board of Elections, the turnout in Ontario County was higher than 70 percent — close to the 72 percent from 2008. She estimated that in a presidential year, turnout is usually 40 to 50 percent, and it’s usually 20 to 30 percent on other years.
“The most important thing to me was the turnout,” said Gregory Young, adjunct faculty member of political science at Finger Lakes Community College. “With so much political attention going on, it really brought a lot of people to the polls. I think it’s a really wonderful sign.”
He said there were several issues at stake this election, particularly the economy, that drew more voters.
“For a lot of folks, the election and government are not some abstract thing,” he said. “It’s something that’s very real with personal consequences.”
— Includes reporting from Melody Burri and Erinn Cain