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September 22, 2014

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In Henderson, voters analyze America’s new president

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Richard Brian

Showing off his patriotism, local poet Amir Rikkah speaks to a crowd during an Election Day party at the Canvas Cafe, 430 E. Silverado Ranch Blvd., on Tuesday.

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A room of mostly Obama supporters, from left, Bennett Main, Dasha Biggs, Natalie Sittler, Melisha Landreth and Bethany Townsend watch Sen. John McCain's televised concession speech during an Election Day party at the Canvas Cafe, 430 E. Silverado Ranch Blvd., on Tuesday.

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A man takes a photo as pedestrians on the Las Vegas Strip stop outside the Planet Hollywood to watch television news coverage of Democratic President-Elect Barack Obama giving his acceptance speech Tuesday night. Launch slideshow »

After Election, What's Next?

Reporter Denise Spidle interviews local voters on their thoughts about the 2008 presidential election, and what the president-elect's first duties in office should be.

As televised election maps across the nation brightened into blue or ran crimson, Henderson voters mulled how an Obama administration will unravel in an uncertain economic future.

In Green Valley, Henderson resident Charles Devorak somberly gazed at President-elect Barack Obama's beaming face on the wide screen TVs at the Kennedy Lounge in The District at Green Valley Ranch. Obama wrapped up his victory speech in a hail of confetti. Devorak, a commercial real estate agent, sipped from a high ball.

"I'm scared to death," said Devorak, a McCain supporter. "I don't want another socialized state like Russia."

A neighborhood away, emotions were running in a different direction.

"I'm elated," said Linda Lowe, who toasted her bottle of Snapple to Obama after CNN called the contentious race at 8 p.m. She joined more than 50 revelers at a Democratic bash in the Canvas Cafe in Silverado. "It reaffirms my faith in the country that we are done with hate and fear."

In the final throes of the election, both candidates presented final appeals in Henderson. McCain, who lagged in national polls, vowed to pull off an upset. Both candidates spun stump speeches to an electorate wearied by the long, nearly two-year presidential race, economic mismanagement and joblessness.

"I can't stand one more commercial with political mudslinging," said Heidi Guinn, a 29-year-old Henderson resident. She sipped shiraz on the patio while the party raged inside. "Tomorrow is going to feel like a breath of fresh air, like a new start."

In the days leading up to the election, Obama urged supporters to knock on doors and make the calls that would enable him to take a state that has gone red in the last two presidential elections. He took Nevada with 56 percent of the vote.

Obama used the economic downturn against McCain.

"You can choose policies that invest in our middle-class, create new jobs, and grow this economy so that everyone has a chance to succeed," Obama said Saturday at a rally on the football field of Coronado High School. "From the CEO to the secretary and the janitor. From the factory owner to the men and women who work on its floor."

Pamela Mains, the owner of the Cheesecake and Crime in Silverado, said she is worried about the economy — but she blamed both parties. And the Wall Street bailout irked her, she said.

"I've written both (Sens.) Ensign and Reid and asked them to bail us out too," Mains said as she nervously watched the giant flat-screen TVs suspended in the center of her book shop. "I haven't heard anything yet."

In his Nevada stumping, Obama presented a non-partisan message: "We are one nation all of us proud, all of us patriots. The men and women who served on our battlefields. Some may be Democrats, some may be Republicans, some may be independents, but they fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served red America or blue America. They have served the United States of America and that's what this election is about — uniting this country."

But can the new president unite America? Democrats and Republicans were doubtful Tuesday evening.

"After the party is over — I don't think so," said 18-year-old Brandon Lawrence, a College of Southern Nevada student and a first-time voter. He said during McCain's 8:20 p.m. concession speech that people are not going to cross the red and blue color lines.

"I think the Republicans don't believe in his beliefs, especially with his socialist views," said Gabe Palomeque, a bartender who supported McCain. "I think it's going to be a lot like the divisiveness of the Clinton era."

Voters like Bennett Mains, a 23-year-old Ralph Nader supporter, also questioned the future.

"I don't completely trust politicians," he said as news of Obama's victory in Virginia came over the loudspeakers piped into the Canvas Cafe. "And with all of us putting our faith into one person — you never know how that's going to go."

Becky Bosshart can be reached at 990-7748 or [email protected].

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