Jay Inslee, confident in initial election results and therefore in his election as governor of Washington, took the stage as the room erupted into a swirl of screams and sign flapping.
A big night for Democrats
It was a good night for Democrats in Washington. The screams were deafening.
At the Westin Hotel Grand Ballroom, where the Washington State Democrats hosted their election night watch party, hundreds of enthusiastic citizens packed out the large venue. For many, the results seemed almost unbelievable.
President Barack Obama was officially re-elected. Democrat Jay Inslee pulled ahead in the gubernatorial race and is expected to win. Democrat Bob Ferguson beat out Republican Reagan Dunn in the bloody Attorney General race. Democrat Peter Goldmark put a whooping on Republican Clint Didier, whose credential was largely being a former NFL player, in the race for Public Land Commissionner. Democrat Suzan DelBene sprinted ahead of Republican John Koster in the race for the 1st Congressional District. And incumbent U.S. Congress Representatives Maria Cantwell and Jim McDermott handily won their re-election.
"There was a trend: everyone of those numbers began with five. And with the Republicans, everyone of those numbers began with a 4," said Dwight Pelz, chair of the Washington State Democrats. "And as Clinton said, math matters."
In Washington, perhaps more notable than anything else, same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization both now look like realities instead of fantasies. For the former, people hugged and cried; for the latter, people cheered and clinked glasses.
One measure that Democrats have been negative of is also passing: Initiative 1185, the ever-popular Tim Eyman measure which requires the Washington State Legislature to make a two-thirds vote before raising any taxes.
Initiative 1240, the charter schools initiative, is currently too close to call but held a narrow lead.
Inslee took the stage late in the night, reported to have been watching the election results upstairs for a prolonged amount of time.
"I hope he's coming out soon," Gov. Christine Gregoire said at one point, "because I'm ready to pass on the baton to the next great governor of the state of Washington -- Jay Inslee."
When he did appear, at 10:40 p.m., a frenzy of screaming and a furious flapping of "I Voted for Jay Inslee for Governor" signs erupted.
Inslee's remarks were to the point and brief, first praising the night's other successes before talking to himself.
"Now, let's stick to the heart of the matter," he said. "They are still counting the ballots in the governor's race, but I believe this — I believe tonight our state has taken another step forward and we have elected a forward-looking governor."
He said he wanted to get to work the very next day, so he could help lead Washington into a better future.
Opponent Republican Rob McKenna did not concede the race that night, telling voters at 9:30 p.m. that it wasn't over yet.
"We're going to ask you to be patient for a few more days," McKenna said. "This year it will be worth the wait."
The Washington State gubernatorial race was thought to be one of the most contested in the country.
The star of the night, though, was President Obama. Many were on edge, eyes glued to the various television and projector screens all over Westin Hotel, as election results rolled in. In the end, though the popular vote was tight, it wasn't even close.
When Mitt Romney officially announced his concession, the screams were loud and long.
When Obama made his speech, they were deafening.