Rocky remains tense in late hours of election

by Alison Schmauch | 11/8/00 6:00am

With key swing states still too close to call into the wee hours of morning, only die-hard political activists remained at the normally festive Rockefeller Center election party.

Encouraged by government professors and friends, the Democratic-heavy crowd subsisted on free refreshments and much coffee through the long, tense night.

With multiple televisions and all major networks going, students watched Bush and Gore taking turns holding onto the lead.

Watching key swing state of Florida flip-flop generated much tension, when CNN initially assigned the state's 25 electoral votes to Vice President Gore early in the evening, only to later report the count remained too close to call.

According to networks, Bush's surprisingly high popularity in traditionally Democratic precincts created this uncertainty.

With The Dartmouth Review as well as State Representative Candidate Bob Gienko '01 holding separate parties, the crowd at the Rockefeller Center leaned leftward, with not a single Bush voter identified by The Dartmouth.

Although loud cheers arose when CNN predicted Gore electoral votes, the room remained silent as CNN predicted Bush votes.

But the most uproar was created whenever CNN declared a particular state "too close to call."

Although the room was packed with political addicts, students from swing states held an especially strong interest in the race.

A curiosity in the electoral fate of his home state sparked the interest of Florida native and Gore supporter Michael Sevi '02, who congregated at Rocky hoping to see how the race would play out.

Although Colorado freshman Kerri Entin didn't receive her absentee ballot in time, her interest in state election results was also heightened.

Republican Elliot Olshansky '04, who spent his summer volunteering for Rick Lazio's New York Senate campaign, chose to interpret literally the popular saying "a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush." Knowing that Gore would win his native state of New York, Olshansky cast his absentee ballot for Nader, showing his support third parties, despite disagree with some of the Green Party's ideals.

But his eyes saw beyond the presidential race to the New York Senate race, and he now resents all the media attention bestowed on his hometown of Chappaqua, where Mrs. Clinton purchased a house to launch and win her bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate.