Democrats celebrate Reid’s win despite losses
In a crowded room, Democrats celebrated a Nevada victory. As confetti filled the air, signs were waived above heads and Sen. Harry Reid gave an acceptance speech that stirred supporters’ raucous applause.
The Senate majority leader won a fifth term Tuesday, in a close race against Tea Party star Sharron Angle.
“Today, Nevada chose hope over fear,” Reid said at his election night headquarters at Aria. “Nevada chose to move forward, not backward. Today, you made possible what many called impossible. And I’m grateful you did — not for me, but for the future we all share as Nevadans.”
Supporters of all ages rallied together to cheer on Reid’s victory, chanting phrases like “Harry! Harry!” and “Si, se puede” — Spanish for “Yes, we can.”
“This shows that together we win,” said Debra Berko, secretary-treasurer of the Southern Nevada Central Labor Council.
Throughout the night prior to the final results being revealed, amidst the celebration of more than 2,000 people, momentary cheering broke through the crowd as updated poll results made their way onto the large screens placed around the room.
Following the brief cheers of anticipation for current leads in the race, the crowd was given a confirmed victory to celebrate.
Despite the results of pre-election polls, which showed Republican candidate Angle ahead of Reid, the final tally revealed a 50 percent triumph for the incumbent, to Angle’s 45 percent.
“We’re elated!” said Las Vegas Democrat Donna Palladino. “This just goes to show you that the polls are not always correct. This means we have the most powerful senator in the country who is going to work to create more jobs and who also has a great partnership with Obama.”
In celebration of another Nevada Democratic win, re-elected Congresswoman Shelley Berkley said her party’s loss of the House majority would not affect her job.
“I’ve served under Democratic presidents and under Republican presidents,” she said. “I’ve served in the majority and in the minority. My job stays the same. I serve the people of Nevada.”
Early in the evening, Berkley, who stormed past her Republican opponent Kenneth Wagner with an overwhelming 62 percent of votes to his 35 percent, gave her thoughts on the elections that had yet to be decided. She said she was optimistic about Reid’s chances at re-election but worried about the fate of the race for Congresswoman Dina Titus’ District 3 seat.
“[Titus] and I are good friends and she ran a great race and hopefully it will pay off,” Berkley said. “If not, I will still work with Congress to achieve what needs to be done.”
Titus lost to Joe Heck by 1,922 votes.
Berkley expressed a desire to keep up a standard of hard work and devotion among Nevada Democrats in the coming congressional cycle.
“For the last 12 years, I come home every weekend,” she said. “I see this as a job with a very long commute, but my constituents appreciate it. All the personal touch pays off and this election shows it. We care about the people we represent. That’s what we do.”
Though the Democrats found much to celebrate Tuesday, the night was not without its disappointments.
Republican Brian Sandoval defeated Democrat Rory Reid in the governor’s race 54 percent to 41 percent, becoming Nevada’s first Hispanic governor.
“I feel I would have preferred Reid to win, but Sandoval is a competent, honorable person so we’ll see what he does,” said third-generation Nevadan Natalie Peterson. “I would like to finally see what his plan is.”
Peterson echoed the sentiments that have pervaded the campaign rhetoric of many higher education advocates in the weeks leading up to the vote with regard to the possibility of a Sandoval administration.
“I really hope we have officials that put education as a priority,” she said. “Better education will lead to a more diversified economy.”
Rory Reid’s loss aside, Democrats expressed optimism about the evening’s results, uplifted by the retention of Harry Reid in the U.S. Senate.
“We lost the governor’s race, but I’m positive because we still have control in the Senate and the Assembly,” said Ruben Kihuen, who was elected to State Senate District 10. “I feel great about tonight. [Harry] Reid’s re-election is more important tonight. His win is a win for the whole state.”