Voters of all political persuasions celebrate on election night
The crowd leapt to its feet at the Millennium Center Tuesday night when Elisabeth Motsinger took to
Motsinger, a Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board member, lost her bid to boot Republican Virginia Foxx from the U.S. House Fifth District seat. Complete but unofficial election numbers show that Foxx won by more than 50,000 votes.
Motsinger, who won Forsyth County by a small margin, bowed out gracefully.
“We took on an impossible task with an enormous good heart and the aspirations of so many, many people, and we ran a race that we are so proud of,” she declared. “One thing that we always stuck to was we were going to run a really clean race with a good heart, and you have done that, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Victors also took to the stage at the Forsyth County Democratic Party’s Election Night Party.
“It’s going to make it difficult having a Republican governor and a House controlled legislature,” said Earline Parmon, who won the 32nd District State Senate said. “…As Democrats, we united … because we understand how important it is for elected officials to go to Raleigh prepared to help make North Carolina a progressive state.”
Parmon is the first African American senator ever to represent Forsyth County. Amidst her celebration Tuesday, she paid homage to three African American powerhouses she credits with paving her way: Velma Hopkins, Annie Kennedy and Mazie Woodruff.
“I realize I stand on the shoulders of these strong black women who dared to stand up when it wasn’t popular for us as women to stand up, and to speak out for people,” Parmon declared. “As senator of District 32, I have to honor those women.”
Ed Hanes celebrated his victory in the N.C. House District 72 race.
“I feel great. I feel relieved. I feel humbled,” confessed the father of three, who celebrated the victory alongside his wife, Traci. “It’s been a long haul, but it’s been worth it.”
Up the street at the Piedmont Club, Algenon Cash, a registered Republican co-hosted a election party with two Democrats, City Council Members James Taylor and Derwin Montgomery.
Cash was celebrating Republican Pat McCrory’s victory. The former Charlotte mayor easily took down Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton.
“I am feeling real happy about the governor’s race,” said Cash. “What McCrory has done in Charlotte, if he can do that statewide in helping us cover this half a million jobs deficit, I’ll be happy.”
Though he admitted he didn’t feel confident Republican Mitt Romney would make it to the White House, Cash said he was more concerned with state and local races.
“What happens statewide is critically more important than what happens nationally,” he remarked. “Local government, state government, has a greater impact on your life.”
Forsyth County Democrats watch party attendees were collectively groaning about the probability of Republican leadership in a state that already has a Republican-led General Assembly.
Longtime city resident Jimmy Slade got most everything he wanted in the 2012 election. Slade, who has worked at the Piedmont Club for 25 years, hails from generations of proud Republicans.
“I have been a Republican all my life,” related the 50 year-old. “My grandmother used to take me to vote. She was a Lincoln Republican, and I’ve been one ever since.”
Despite his party leanings, Slade says he votes with his head and his heart, and this election was no different. He supported Obama for president; McCrory for governor; and Democrat Linda Coleman for lieutenant governor. At Chronicle press time, Coleman was running neck-and-neck with Republican Dan Forest.
“I never vote a straight party ticket on anything,” he explained. “I try to pick the best person for the job.”
At the polls earlier that day, things were relatively quiet. Workers at Ashley Elementary, the nearby John Wesley AME Zion Church and the Kennedy Learning Center all reported a slow but steady trickle of voters and no lines to speak of. City native Crystal Gourdine said the lack of competition at the polls was just what she was looking for. The East Forsyth alumna said she voted early in 2008 and, after waiting for more than four hours in line, vowed never to do so again. Still, she is serious about making her voice heard. She left her 14 year-old son’s hospital bed Tuesday to do her civic duty, and she urges others to do the same.
“I don’t ask people what they’re going to vote, because that ain’t none of my business,” declared Gourdine, a longtime housekeeper at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “I just say vote.”
Calvean Hood visited the Kennedy Learning Center precinct Tuesday because he says he enjoys the time honored tradition of voting on Election Day. The father of three said he was pleasantly surprised by the lack of lines, which many attributed to an increase in early voting.
Cosmetologist Rovenia West brought her daughter Armani West, 13, along with her to vote at their precinct at John Wesley AMEZ. West, a city native, said she also opted to vote on Election Day because she had heard about long lines during early voting.
“I felt like early voting was too crowded,” said the mother of three.
Armani, a sixth grader, said accompanying her mother to the polls was good practice for her.
“I just wanted to vote,” she remarked. “Because if you don’t vote, you never know who’s going to win, and I want Barack Obama to win, so I’m glad she brought me here to vote (with her).”
In other races, Democrat Evelyn Terry was elected to the N.C. House District 71 seat; David Sipprell won a seat on the local District Court, while District Court Judge Tori Roemer was reelected; Paul Newby beat Sam Ervin in the N.C. Supreme Court race; Wanda Bryant and Linda McGee were re-elected to the N.C. Court of Appeals; and Cressie Thigpen, who was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Gov. Perdue two years ago, lost to Chris Dillion.