Party supporters spend night on edge

Rube Render discusses the presidential race while watching the returns with newly elected District 9 Public Education Commissioner Dennis James Roch at a party of Republicans on Tuesday night in Clovis. (Staff photo: Mike Linn)

By Mike Linn: CNJ news editor

While experts and analysts chimed in their thoughts on what swing state John Kerry or President Bush would take, Rube Render and other Republicans at a party in Clovis couldn’t help but add their thoughts to the mix.

“I think if Bush gets Florida and Ohio it’s curtains for John,” said Render, a member of the Curry County Republicans Central Committee.

Minutes later a media analyst predicted Ohio — a swing state in which Bush had a 130,000 vote lead — would eventually go to Kerry.

“It shouldn’t be anywhere near this close,” Render said shortly after.

About an hour later the scene had changed — if ever so slightly.

Curry County Republican Chairman Brett Johnson said at 11 p.m., when Bush had 249 electoral votes to Kerry’s 195, that the group was cautiously optimistic Bush would be re-elected.

By then, Curry County Democratic Chairwoman Sandra Martin was still banking on Kerry to pull through.
“We can’t count all the chickens until they’re hatched,” Martin said. “I’m praying for Kerry.”

In New Mexico, with 82 percent of the precincts reporting 30 minutes before midnight, 52 percent of the voters supported Bush and 47 voted for Kerry.

Curry and Roosevelt counties resoundingly supported Bush.

In Curry County, 3,266 registered voters chose Kerry while 9,434 decided on Bush with 90 of 111 precincts reporting.
With 21 of 22 precincts reporting at 11:30 p.m., 4,954 Roosevelt County voters favored Bush and 2,069 favored Kerry, the state secretary of state’s Web site showed.

Portales resident Dr. Martin Goodwin, a Republican and retired radiologist, was not surprised Portales favored Bush. He was, however, surprised Kerry had done so well nationally.

“I’m amazed how anyone can vote for Kerry,” he said. “I do believe Bush will win, I hope so. I’m not nervous.”

Like Goodwin, Roosevelt County Democrat Party Chairman Terry Cone said he wasn’t surprised Portales and Roosevelt County favored Bush.

“I’m nervous, still holding out for Kerry (to win),” he said. “I knew it was going to be close.”

For Johnson, whether Bush wins or loses, it’s great to be an American and be able to participate in this election.

“We’re the only country where we can disagree and guns aren’t drawn and people don’t die,” he said. “It’s a great process and I’m proud to be an American.”