American expats in T.O. reflect on Obama victory
Published Wednesday, November 7, 2012 9:18AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 7, 2012 10:18AM EST
Scores of American expatriates watched from Toronto as U.S. President Barack Obama won a second term in the White House on Tuesday night.
Expats crammed into downtown bars and ballrooms as the Democrat managed to capture more than 270 electoral votes, the benchmark he needed to hit in order to claim victory.
Once polls closed and ballots were tallied, it was determined that Obama seized 303 electoral votes: 33 more than he needed to win. Romney took 206.
And while Democrats in the hard-won battlegrounds of Ohio, Wisconsin and more let out raucous cheers as the results trickled in, the mood was just as jubilant at the Sheraton Centre in downtown Toronto, where hundreds of Democrats gathered to watch the race.
“This is a victory party,” declared Julie Buchanan, chair of Democrats Abroad Canada’s Toronto chapter, though the race had not been called yet.
Applause erupted and camera flashes were visible as cardboard cut-outs of Obama and first lady Michelle were carried into the Sheraton ballroom.
“We’re really happy to be here and we’re happy to have the president here, too,” joked Buchanan, patting the cardboard Obama cut-out.
Elsewhere in the city, American expatriates and others supporting Republican candidate Mitt Romney had their eyes fixed on television screens in a local bar.
Observer Shawn Branch noted early in the night that the race appeared to be unfolding as he expected, with Romney seizing a handful of red states such as West Virginia.
But as the night wore on, it was learned that Obama had seized seven so-called battleground states: Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Colorado and Nevada.
Kelli Wight, secretary of Republicans Abroad Canada, conceded that she was slightly disappointed by the results.
“I was hoping Romney was going to have a stronger showing by this point,” she said.
Back at the Sheraton ballroom, Democrat Carole Giangrandi cheered in an audience of hundreds of other Dems -- many of whom were sporting white “Vote Obama 2012” T-shirts.
Giangrandi, an American who has lived in Canada since 1952, says she believes heightened animosity during this year’s election campaign turned some voters off the race.
Toting a plush toy of the Sesame Street character “Big Bird,” a reference to Romney’s pledge to cut funding to PBS, Giangrandi said she appreciated Obama’s political vision.
“He really sees the country as a group of people who work together,” she said.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Scott Lightfoot