Student groups congregated across campus Tuesday night as the results of Election Day ultimately led to the re-election of President Barack Obama.
The University of Wisconsin’s College Republicans filled Kollege Klub throughout the night to watch Fox News and CNN announce the results. UW College Democrats and Obama For America convened at Monona Terrace with several Wisconsin Democratic campaigns to await results.
College Republicans members entered KK with high hopes for presidential candidate and former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., to win the election. However, as the votes continued to be counted, many expressed nervousness about the elections.
UW sophomore Raeann Kramer, a sociology and political science major, said she had “faith that America [would] do the right thing and pick the change we need.”
According to College Republicans spokesperson Ryan Hughes, the “change” wanted by the Republican community mainly focused on fiscal issues.
“The main thing we are worried about is high unemployment, especially among college graduates, where one in two [graduates] can’t find a job in their field and the rising debt,” Hughes said.
Hughes’ sentiments resonated around the room as multiple College Republicans members shared the same prioritization of economic issues.
Kramer added she supported Romney because of his business approach to the country and said she voted for the former governor because she wanted a job after college.
According to Hughes, in this election such fiscal issues are a higher priority for the College Republicans because they are the issues the people are going to have to “deal with.”
“College Republicans are a lot more worried about the economic issues, because those are the things we are going to have to deal with,” Hughes said. “Social issues, they matter, but it comes down to whether or not we are going have a job when we graduate, whether we can pay our debt for our education.”
UW senior and legal studies major Lauren Sonnickson said she agreed with Hughes and emphasized her belief the country cannot focus on social issues until the economy has been fixed.
Obama supporters who were also present at the KK said they prioritized social and fiscal issues differently.
UW junior Katherine Guarino, a journalism and international studies major, said as an Obama supporter, her focus was “100 percent social issues.”
“I think women’s rights are a huge stake in this election,” Guarino said. “There are a lot of issues at stake like woman’s choice, when it comes to insurance and now gay rights. I can’t pick something like taxes over gay rights, personally.”
At Monona Terrace, fellow Obama supporters said they agreed with the difference in priority.
Donna McKay, a McFarland resident at the event, said she too was focused on women’s rights while voting in the election. She added she found it hard to side with the Republican campaign on anything because it was constantly changing its platform.
“I felt like Romney kept changing his mind every time he opened his mouth,” McKay said. “It came across as dishonest.”
McKay said the Romney campaign focused on the country’s finances and cutting taxes but was not open about how the taxes would be cut or for whom. She said this added to the dishonesty she saw in his campaign.
Cindy Krantz, a Madison resident who also attended the event, said Medicare and Medicaid were the main topics of concern for her in the election. She said she supported Obama for his dealing with health care.
Krantz added it was hard to find common ground with Republicans on the health care issue, as well as others, because the GOP officials were continuously changing their opinions and statements on key issues.
Despite the College Republicans’ original optimism, Obama was announced the winner, first by Fox News, then later confirmed by The Associated Press.
Although the cheers from the crowd at Monona Terrace were not heard at KK, Hughes said he accepted the projections and looked toward the future of College Republicans.
“The projections are showing that Obama is going to win, and ultimately we are going to get behind whoever wins; we have to rally behind the leader as the President of the United States,” Hughes said. “As far as College Republicans, we have to start gearing up for the next election, so we can have a successful time next time.”