Mood tempered at O.C. GOP event as word of Obama victory spread
As the news of President Obama's reelection began to spread, the hush did, too.
In the ballroom of a Costa Mesa hotel, a crowd of about 250 people had gathered for what was supposed to be a victory party for the Orange County GOP. The women wore cherry-red blazers and red-and-blue scarves. The men wore flag pins on their lapels emblazoned with Romney's name.
Television sets nearby had been set to Fox News. At about 8:30 p.m., a headline flashed across the screen: "BARACK OBAMA RE-ELECTED."
"My friends, we will live to fight again," former California Gov. Pete Wilson told the crowd. "We're all feeling... we're all fairly smarting. But we will live to fight again."
Although they were disappointed with Obama's victory, they were holding out for the results of local races.
They have had a tempered outlook from the beginning, knowing that Romney's chances of winning California were slim. They hitched their hopes to state propositions and local candidates, with a focus on challenging any measure that would increase taxes.
Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's temporary sales and income tax increase, was "public enemy No. 1," one attendee said.
"We're against anything that raises taxes. What will that fix?" said Hal Sears of Laguna Beach. "The last thing we need is more fiscal waste in Sacramento."
Sears owns a tire company with stores in California, Colorado and Indiana. He employs 100 people. He said he has shuttered three of his 15 stores in the last year because of the economy.
"I feed the beast every month," Sears said. "We need business people to run the government. It's no different than any other type of budget."
-- Laura J. Nelson in Costa Mesa
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Photo: Carole Cole, left, of Tustin, closes her eyes and turns away from the television, and Karen Jerpseth, center, of Mission Viejo, weeps after hearing the news that President Obama had been declared the winner in Ohio. They were at the Westin South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times