ITHACA, N.Y. — The Tompkins County Democratic Victory Party in downtown Ithaca feels like a “morgue” as less than half a dozen people remain to watch the numbers of the presidential election roll in.
One Democrat who left early said the room felt like a “morgue”.
Democrat Matt Van Houten, the newly elected District Attorney said, “I don’t know what to say…I had thought that Hillary was a lock.”
He said he never remembers feeling this kind of dread on the eve of a national election before. The closest thing he can recall is when George W. Bush and Al Gore were deadlocked for the presidency in Florida back in 2000.
“I don’t think that that compares to this,” he said.
Assembly woman Barbra Lifton, who won her eighth term Tuesday night, was nearly in tears as she put on her salmon colored coat to leave the the ballroom.
She said in frustration, “We don’t know who he is. We don’t know who he is!”
Lifton cited his nonexistent political experience and vague references to policies and compared it to Clinton’s near-lifetime of experience.
“She’s been under attack for nearly 30 years,” Lifton said.
Seated in front of a 50-inch television screen, former city alderperson J.R. Clairborne was calm and collected as he watched number roll in.
“I’m just holding my breath. I don’t say any more or less than that,” he said.
Earlier, his 10-year-old daughter Indira was at the party. He said he wanted her to witness history in the making — he really anted her to witness that.
He said he was disappointed that he couldn’t have Indira “see the big celebratory atmosphere I thought we were going to have.”
One by one, candidates and supporters filed out of the ballroom. Tompkins Legislature Anna Kelles cried into Lifton’s shoulder. Several Democrats cursed at each other in frustration.
Jean McPheeters, President at Jean McPheeters Consulting LLC, packed up her belongings and left the party before midnight.
“I hope tomorrow brings better news,” she said.
When Ithaca Voice reporters filed out of the ballroom around 12:30 a.m., less than half a dozen people sat in front of the television clutching coffee and dreams that this election had overwhelming turned in Clinton’s favor.
As of 1:45 a.m. on Wednesday, the election is too close to call. The Ithaca Voice will continue to report on the election as more reports file in on the national election.