Local GOP buoyed by win

By David Irvin: CNJ news writer

While the presidential election was coming to a head in Ohio, many in the nation were drawn to the edge of their seats Tuesday night to watch whether another post-election debacle was about to unfold.

But by the morning, national media were already buzzing about Sen. John Kerry’s plan to concede the race in Ohio and therefore the election.

When Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush took the stage to proclaim victory Wednesday afternoon, New Mexico was still counting ballots — Bush ended up winning by a close margin.

Curry County Republican Chairman Brett Johnson was quick to echo the vice president’s victory proclamation that the sweeping election victories for Republicans across the nation were evidence of a mandate.

“The majority of people out there believe in the conservative issues Bush and Cheney espoused during the campaign,” Johnson said. “Just the fact that he had the popular vote is saying a lot.”

He hopes Republican initiatives in the next four years will reverse the trend of activism in the judiciary and make America a private ownership society, alluding to the possibility of Social Security privatization in the future.

“Our activist judges will hopefully become a thing of the past,” Johnson said.

In Curry County, President Bush won 75 percent of the vote. Statewide Bush led Kerry by 12,000 votes with 99 percent of the precincts reporting.

Clovis Republican Rube Render said all the talk in the media about the divisiveness in the American population isn’t supported by the 2004 election.

“I believe that the United States is today, and always has been, basically conservative. It holds conservative values,” Render said.

Local Democrats were not eager to concede on that point.

“In essence I hope for the sake of the country that it won’t be a longer and rougher ride as it has been for the last four years,” said Bill Bollinger, who insisted he was speaking as an area Democrat and not a party official. “It better not continue on down the same road or it will (lead to) catastrophic situations.”

He said the president never owned up to mistakes made during the war in Iraq, saying the administration blindly forged ahead instead.

“I’ve made mistakes in my life and I’ve learned from it,” Bollinger said.