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October 19, 2017

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Traditionally Republican, BC ruminates on the President-elect

Election Day in Boulder City

Sharon Moleton signs in to vote Tuesday at Elton M. Garrett Middle School in Boulder City.
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After Election, What's Next?

Reporter Denise Spidle interviews local voters on their thoughts about the 2008 presidential election, and what the president-elect's first duties in office should be.

John Houck was dead tired after working two jobs Tuesday, but he had to stay up at the Backstop Sports Pub until Barack Obama had secured the presidency.

Houck, 28, a member of the Culinary Workers Union, said after seeing Obama speak three months ago at a union rally, his vote was sealed.

Obama won the nation's presidency and grabbed Nevada's electoral votes with 56 percent of the vote.

He's made more than 20 campaign visits to the state and early on fought for union support.

Phil Flowers, 40, a technician for Xerox who also saw Obama speak to unions, agreed.

"I make $30,000 a year. I'm the bracket Obama's speaking to," he said. "When McCain spoke about $150,000 — you've got to be rich in the first place to talk like that. You're not hurting for a cheeseburger."

Sean Lewis, 27, a bartender at the Backstop who joined Houck and Flowers watching the results on television, voted in his first presidential election Nov. 4.

"As cliche as it is, we need a change," he said. "Obama seems more for blue-collar types like I am. Economic issues — that's definitely at the top of the list."

At a Saturday rally on the football field of Coronado High School, his last visit to the state before his victory, Obama's words reflected that.

"You can choose policies that invest in our middle-class, create new jobs, and grow this economy so that everyone has a chance to succeed. From the CEO to the secretary and the janitor. From the factory owner to the men and women who work on its floor."

Polling place leaders at the Boulder City Recreation Center, Martha P. King Elementary School and Elton Garrett Middle School reported steady turnouts, few mechanical problems and lines and more election observers than usual.

About 8:15 p.m., shortly before Republican nominee John McCain conceded to Obama, Charles Bullen, a 46-year-old electrician at Hoover Dam who was watching the election results at Tony's Pizza, said he'd voted for McCain, but knew the race was decided.

The loss was disappointing he said, but he wouldn't lose sleep over it.

He said he's concerned Obama will squander the federal income and botch America's foreign policies.

"He doesn't seem very patriotic at all," he said. "We're all in for a big awakening."

Beth Nielsen, who works at the Hacienda Hotel and Casino, said she voted for Obama for president.

What set her over the edge was McCain's vice presidential running mate choice of Sarah Palin.

"I was voting for vice presidents," she said.

At 6:55 p.m. in the Spillway Lounge at the Boulder Dam Hotel, just before polls closed in Nevada, Lynn Goya had called the presidential election.

The leader of the Boulder City Democratic Club knew the man she had backed since January would be elected the next president.

She said this year, Democratic voter registration had improved in Boulder City. One-third of local voters were registered Democrats for this election, up from 25 percent last presidential election.

"We knocked on every door so many times they knew us by first names," she said. "We're catching up. It's not as much of a gap."

Goya said she'd seen Obama three times, and Michelle Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden once each.

Gail Motley, 60, joined Goya and other Democrats at the Spillway Lounge.

She said she predicted Obama's presidency two years ago, and on election night felt a surge of renewal she hadn't known since John F. Kennedy's election in 1961.

"American people are frustrated and scared and feeling a despair that hasn't happened since the Depression," she said.

Goya said she was glad it was over.

"I'll sleep in, happily, instead of waking up in stress," she said. "Then I might bake something — a celebratory cake."

Cassie Tomlin can be reached at 948-2073 or [email protected].

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