Members of the Miami Beach Democratic Club gathered at the Gaythering Hotel for a midterm election watch party with moderate expectations. They filled the hotel bar starting at 8 p.m. and watched TVs set up around the room.
The mood in the room changed from electric to anxious as the voting results poured in, said Ariel Morel, vice president of the Miami Beach Democratic Club.
“It’s very reminiscent of the 2016 elections where you started on a high and ended on a low,” he said.
Chris Caines, a volunteer for the Florida Democratic Party, said that when it came to races “too close to call,” he worried about the misguided hope of some of the party attendees.
“Numbers flash on the screen, people get excited or disappointed, but it’s not 100 percent reflective of what is going on behind the scenes,” he said.
Michael Grieco, who ran for Florida District 113 house seat, attended the watch party with several of his campaign volunteers and supporters. As results pointed toward a win, he expressed eagerness to start his new position.
“We expected to win,” he said. “We just didn’t know how big the win was going to be. I have served my community before, and am looking forward to doing it again. It’s a labor of love and a calling.”
In the Florida governor race, attendees, many of whom belong to activist organizations, were disappointed to see Democrat Andrew Gillum lose to Republican Ron DeSantis.
Andre Ward, a 36-year old voter, said he was not surprised.
“He campaigned in the major urban centers [of Miami-Dade and Broward counties], but I feel as though he didn’t reach out to enough constituents across the board to swing the state,” he said.
As the party wound down at midnight, Carlos Hernandez, stressed the importance of voter participation.
“We are lucky to have the right to cast our vote,” he said. “It’s important to respect each other; no matter who wins at least it shows that elections count. That’s why we must go out and vote. We have to be grateful that everyone’s voice counts.
SCENES FROM ELECTION NIGHT
Ariel Morel, vice president of the Miami Beach Democratic Club, says that the mood in the room changed from electric to anxious as votes were tallied.
“It looks like Gillum is down by a lot of votes,” he said. “We’re hopeful that when the votes for Miami-Dade and Broward counties finish, it will translate into enough votes for Gillum to carry the state.”
— Gabriela Rodriguez
The Gaythering Hotel and Bar Democrat watch party on Miami Beach is filled supporter who started gathering at 8 p.m. People come in and out of the busy room while cheering, drink in hand, for the results announced on a TV.
— Camila Gonzalez
Darwin Rodriguez, a registered Democrat who has attended election-watch parties at the Gaythering Hotel in South Beach, said that he had never seen a turnout this large for a midterm election.
“We’ve been let down in the past,” he said. “We’re being realistic about the results, but there is more hope in the room than there was two years ago [in reference to 2016 presidential race].”
— Gabriela Rodriguez