By Ryan Pangilinan
Northwest Asian Weekly
On Tuesday, Nov. 4, there was an overwhelming sense of joy, excitement and tension. The Westin in Downtown Seattle was packed with Democratic supporters of all sorts. Attempting to name every walk of life would require a great laundry list that could possibly include carnies.
Some people were glued to CNN’s election coverage in the hotel lobby bar but most had made their way to the fourth floor ballroom where thousands of Democrats converged, all anxiously waiting to hear the results from both the presidential and gubernatorial races.
The venue was a tapestry of signs and anticipation. Most people eagerly waited and when CNN called the election in favor of Barack Obama, people marched from the bar to the ballroom to deliver the news to those who couldn’t hear the coverage on the enormous screen.
All the while, small pockets of groups had taken to suites to watch the election results patiently. In one suite, Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos hosted the API Election Night Celebration.
Rep. Santos ran back and forth from her laptop, refreshing the browser throughout the evening, announcing the gubernatorial results and marking them on a chart that was taped to a wall. As the evening went on, a congratulatory announcement for returning District 11 representative Bob Hasegawa was made while he sat comfortably with other figures of the API community.
In other parts of the hotel, around 8:45 p.m., whispers of Gregoire’s impending win spread quickly with many Democrats proclaiming triumph. People who were cheering Obama’s victory speech, were also awaiting Governor Gregoire’s appearance in the ballroom.
While news shots of the GOP’s gathering in Bellevue seemed far more subdued, the Westin went from tense to electrifying with cheers every which way.
Further into the evening, other groups had turned to other issues around the country. At a party hosted by a gay couple, the mood was polarizing, as people were equally excited about the simultaneous wins of both Obama and Gregoire, yet the uncertainty of California’s Proposition 8, which would subsequently ban gay marriage, added a somberness to an otherwise joyous evening.
By 9 p.m., Rossi had yet to concede, but his party was over. On the other side, Democrats had slowly trickled out of the Westin and taken to the Seattle streets, echoing President-elect Barack Obama’s hope for a new America.
At press time, Nov. 5, the Associated Press is reporting that Rossi is conceding, removing doubts and uncertainty for many of Gregoire’s diehard supporters.
“I think (Gov. Gregoire’s) done a great job in protecting our state and preparing of the nationwide belt tightening,” said Yuh-Line Niou, a former legislative assistant for Rep. Eileen Cody.
“I know she’s done a lot for (the API) community, including funding for several of our community service organizations. … I’m excited to be able to work with her for another four years.” ♦
Ryan Pangilinan can be reached at email@example.com.