Johnson County Democrats stayed at the First Avenue Club late into the night, savoring their victory and waiting for President Barack Obama to give his victory speech.
Volunteers gathered around large projection screens and hooted and hollered in glee as the president appeared at 12:36 a.m. to give his victory speech.
Barack Obama, after a stiff challenge from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, will once again be the president of the United States.
There was lot for Democrats to be pleased about in Johnson County. Also victorious was U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, new State Rep. Sally Stutsman, all three incumbent Johnson County Supervisors, unopposed Johnson County Sheriff and Auditor candidates Lonny Pulkrabek and Travis Weipert. Also, embattled Justice David Wiggins was retained, which was seen as a referendum on gay marriage rights in the state.
Not all Johnson County Democrats were pleased, however, as the Johnson County Justice Center bond supported by the Democratic sheriff and Board of Supervisors was defeated. In a partially Johnson County vote, Republican Bobby Kaufmann has defeated Democrat Dick Schwab, despite Schwab taking Johnson County.
Earlier in the day lines were steady but manageable at polling precincts at the Iowa City Rec Center and City High School as the final hour of polling came to a close.
Marty Adams, precinct chair at the City High location, credited Iowa's updated electronic voter database and the huge volume of early voters in the county (more than 45,000 people) for making the voter load manageable on election day.
"I think it was great that so many people voted pre-election," Adams said. "Can you imagine an additional 45,000 people going through these precincts? If those people hadn't voted ahead there probably would have been people who wanted to vote who couldn't have."
People like Jonathan Sneddon, a University of Iowa engineering student who snuck in with a vote in the final 15 minutes. Sneddon said he came to vote primarily to protect gay marriage rights, voting "Yes" to retain Justice David Wiggins and voting in favor of Barack Obama.
"I feel like if these rights aren't protected it might take longer to get equal rights for the people who deserve them," he said.
LIVE 2012 ELECTION RESULTS (Johnson County Results unofficial)Race Democratic Candidates Results Republican Candidates Results
U.S. President, Johnson County Results
Obama-Biden *50,090 Romney-Ryan 23,556
U.S. President, National Results
Johnson County Justice Center
35,40356% 28,202 42%
U.S. Congress, District 2
David Loebsack *48,669 John Archer Jr. 22,114
Iowa Judicial Retention, David Wiggins
Retain 39,938 Remove 14,134
State Representative District 85
Vicki Lensing* 14,124 Unopposed.
State Representative District 86
Mary Mascher* 12,717 Unopposed.
State Representative District 77
Sally Stutsman 9,802 Steve Sherman 6,522
State Representative District 73
Dick Schwab 2,991 Bobby Kaufmann 2,338
Travis Weipert 52,350
Lonny Pulkrabek 52,943 Unopposed
County Supervisor (Elect Three)
Rod Sullivan* 41,653
Terrence Neuzil* 44,332
Pat Harney* 43,791
** Nominated by Petition
Rebecca Abellera, of Iowa City, also a UI student also benefitted from the extra time, having to return to the polling place to prove that she was an Iowa City resident. Abellera felt even with the extra drama, casting her first vote for Barack Obama was great.
"It was thrilling," she said.
Meanwhile, downtown at the Iowa City Rec Center, Kirkwood student Riley Bly cast his vote for President Obama in the last hour as well.
Or perhaps it was more a vote against someone else.
"Really I'm voting more because I'm not a fan of Romney than anything having to do with Obama," Bly said.
Over the noon hour the voter traffic at Weber Elementary School voting precinct which has has one of the highest turnouts in the county was slow and steady, with the number of voters generally outnumbered by the election volunteers. The vote time came in at 10 minutes or less, as voters streamed into the lobby past Weber students playing at recess.
Alyssa Bedford, a nursing student at Kirkwood Community College said she came to Weber to vote primarily in the presidential race, specifically for her candidate of choice, Mitt Romney.
Bedford said she didn't know what to expect for who the winner would be.
"I hear from one side that Romney is in the lead and then I hear from the other that it's Obama," she said.
Mark Baird, a retiree who recently moved to Iowa City from Des Moines, also voted straight Republican, listing the growing national debt as his main concern. He agreed with Bedford that the election is going to come down to the wire.
Baird said that despite the fact that much of the county, including his wife, voted early, he likes the feeling of voting on election day.
"I just like to get caught up in the spirit of it, it feels like after all the ads and the pitches from candidates, voting on the day brings it to an end," he said.
Johnson County Auditor Tom Slockett reported via Twitter that Johnson County had the lowest morning election turnout in the last 32 years.
"Lowest voting at the polls in 32 years as of 9 am in a Johnson County General Election. This on a rainy morning after record early voting," he said in the Tweet.
An earlier Tweet said that Johnson County had meanwhile set a record for the amount of early and absentee voting, besting the previous total by 4,118 votes, which may explain the low turnout numbers this morning. The total number of absentee ballots requested in Johnson County totalled more than 46,000.
Polls opened in Iowa City on a rainy Tuesday morning with small but steady lines, at several precincts' voting locations.
About 30 people formed a line inside Lucas Elementary school, where the polls were about five minutes late to open. The crowd was made up mainly of professionals on their way to work and who enjoy voting on Election Day.
"I like coming to vote on Election Day," said JoAnn Mann, of Iowa City, who arrived at 6:40 a.m. That was early enough to land her first on line. "It makes it more official."
In 2008 at the Lucas precinct, 58 percent of the 778 voters punched a ballot for now-President Barack Obama, while 40 percent went for Arizona Sen. John McCain, a Republican.
Brad Walters, of Iowa City, also was in line when polls opened. Waiting to vote on Election Day is the "reward" for putting up with months of politics ads, he said. Walters is fed up with both parties, which "can't get anything done" in Congress, but he will not be devastated if his choice doesn't win, he said.
"I think they are both decent, good men," Walters said.
Ryan O'Leary, of Iowa City, said a similar line of about 30 people on the west side of town at his polling place, the Hawkeye Hall of Fame. O'Leary, an independent, voted third-party for Gary Johnson. He said he was planning on making a long day and watching results until it is final.
"I think I can squeeze out another two hours tonight to see who wins," he said.
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