Barack Obama made history on Tuesday night when he was elected the 44th President of the United States. Obama became the first black president almost 11 months to the day of winning the first big political test, the Iowa caucuses.
“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” Obama said during his victory speech in Chicago.
The president-elect far surpassed the number of necessary electoral votes, with 338 at time of publication. Iowa was one of at least seven states to change party hands from four years ago and vote for the Democratic candidate. Obama received 54 percent of the popular vote in Iowa.
In Warren County, Obama scraped out a victory by a mere 149 votes. In a county that traditionally votes Republican, the win was exciting for county Democrats. In 2004 Bush beat Kerry here by almost 1,500 votes.
“That’s absolutely wonderful,” Paula Martinez, co-chair of the Warren County Democratic Party said.
According to Martinez, Simpson students played a large role in helping sway the vote in Obama’s favor.
“I think it absolutely made a difference,” Martinez said. “I think that the students there on campus were very involved. They knocked on doors, made calls. I really believe they saw the future was in their hands.”
Obama acknowledged young voters during his victory speech, saying that his campaign “grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy.”
At a watch party in the BSC consisting mostly of Obama supporters, students were enthusiastic about the results.
“He has better ideas that will work well with the country,” sophomore Hank Muzney said.
Sophomore Katie Prowant agreed.
“He has a plan,” she said. “He has what he wants to do and how to do it.”
Some students expressed disappointment and unease about the outcome of the election.
“I’m obviously disappointed by the outcome,” senior Angie Smith said. “I feel that John McCain would have been better suited as president, but I will support Barack Obama as president because I believe that no matter who the president is, they deserve respect from our nation.”
In other local races, Republican Kent Sorenson defeated incumbent democratic State Rep. Mark Davitt, who was seeking his third term in House District 74. Sorenson won the close race by 169 votes.
In House District 73, Republican incumbent Jodi Tymeson captured 61 percent of the vote to hold off Democratic challenger Maxine Bussanmas.
Both national congressmen up for re-election in the county maintained their seats. Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin defeated his republican opponent Christopher Reed with approximately 54 percent of the popular vote.
Republican Tom Latham managed to maintain his position as U.S. Representative in the 4th District, with 60 percent of the vote against democratic challenger Becky Greenwald.
Kedron Bardwell, assistant professor of political science, said that record-high turnout among young Iowans at the caucuses in January could indicate similar patterns for Tuesday’s election, although actual numbers won’t be compiled for several days.
Approximately 85 percent of Simpson students are registered to vote, either in Warren county or their home counties or states. Bardwell attributed some of that high percentage to efforts by multiple Simpson groups and classes that helped register students to vote.
Simpsonian staff Kristin Simpson and Jamie Corey contributed to this article.