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Inside GOP HQ: The votes are in ... finally

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SALT LAKE CITY — The numbers are in for the major races we've been watching tonight, and Jim Matheson and Ben McAdams are the victors. Both Mia Love and Mark Crockett have lost their race.

The 4th Congressional District race came down to approximately 2,818 votes, sending Rep. Jim Matheson back to Washington D.C.

The Republican Party had several victories throughout the state, but lost two of the races they were really hoping to win. As a whole, many of the remaining supporters are disappointed with the election results.

Crockett said he's disappointed, but is looking forward to going back to regular life. We have not heard from either Crockett or Love, and I'm not sure we will. No one is here to see it.

11:36 p.m. — Where's the Love?

The Utah Republican Party has looked to the historical importance of the Mia Love race since she announced her candidacy. For the first time, an African-American woman could be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

However, the turnout at the Hilton ballroom is weak, to say the least. Supporters remaining in the ballroom are outnumbered by media members and party leaders. Love will give her acceptance or concession speech to a dwindled crowd. The numbers are still close and no end in sight, but I expected more people to hang around to see the results.


It is a work night and many have jobs to go to tomorrow, so it's understandable.

11:15 p.m. — Romney's gracious concession speech

The Mitt Romney concession speech was short lived, but was a somber moment for the crowd still hanging out in the Hilton ballroom. There were scattered claps as Romney addressed the nation, but overall, the room looked stunned knowing the race was officially over.

Romney gave a gracious speech, saying he gave it is all. He asked for Americans to "earnestly pray for (Barack Obama) and this country." Several supporters hanging around the ballroom say they're heartbroken to see Romney lose. Many here personally know Romney and are taking it harder than a normal election.

However, the remain crowd is still "optimistic" for good results in the remain races.

10:35 p.m. — What about Ohio?

Many here at the GOP Election Night Party are hanging on to the presidential election, hoping for a change in the result. The biggest complaint: How can a state be called for a candidate when the race is still close?

Ohio is the biggest topic of discussion, with approximately 5,000 votes separating the two candidates as of this writing. Projections are called as exit polling data is merged with official data, giving a reasonable sense of confidence in projection.

Nevertheless, battleground states Colorado and Nevada gave President Obama the win, thus negating the electoral votes of Ohio.

10:00 p.m. — Sen. Hatch is a GOP favorite

Sen. Orrin Hatch won his seventh term as senator Tuesday, beating out Democratic opponent Scott Howell. And while many argued for him to retire, he continues to be a favorite among Republican supporters at the hotel. Sen. Hatch easily got the most cheers when addressing the crowd and had a swarm of people go up to congratulate him after his speech.

Following Sen. Hatch's speech, the crowds dissipated, especially with the presidential election over. There is still a large crowd hanging around to see how the remaining races turn out, but is probably a fourth of the people who were here originally. If Mia Love loses, for many, tonight will be a disappointment despite several Republican wins.

9:26 p.m. — Utah GOP disappointed in Romney loss

As Gov. Gary Herbert prepared to address the crowd, the TV next to the stage showed state results for Iowa and Ohio going for President Barack Obama, thus giving him enough electoral votes for a second term. The mood in the hotel completely dropped as the crowd let out a collective sigh.

Many have already left the hotel as a result of the election results. Others are sticking around to see if Mayor Mia Love can pull off a win against Jim Matheson and if Mark Crockett can survive against Ben McAdams.

Decision 2012:

While the excitement in the room is still there, there is certainly a different feel to crowd.

8:24 p.m. — The crowds are growing

More and more people continue to cram into the hotel in an attempt to see the election results unfold. None of the state candidates have addressed the crowd, but everyone is ready to celebrate.

Results continue to pour in on a giant TV screen dialed in to Fox News. Every state that is called for Mitt Romney continues to bring loud cheers, which continue to grow with more and more states.

8:24 p.m. — The crowds are growing

As the night progress, the crowds at the Hilton Hotel continue to grow. It's getting difficult for people to move around the general gathering area. Nevertheless, every time a state is declared for Mitt Romney, the crowd claps and cheers.

Mia Love recently walked into the general gathering area and the crowds followed her. I can't emphasize how much the people here love her. It should be an interesting night if Romney and/or Love win.

8:00 p.m. — Polls closed in Utah

The polls have officially closed in the state of Utah and everyone at tonight's party is waiting with anticipation. The mood in the hotel has become more serious after months of hard work will be on the line as candidates wait for election results to roll in. However, the excitement continues.

Several young teenagers are vying for a spot on TV to show their support for Republicans candidates. There is a lot of youth at tonight's party, which is a good sign for the GOP. Many are not old enough to vote, but are still showing their support tonight.

We're optimistic. Utah is going to have a very Republican night we feel. We're just hoping the country sees what we see in Mitt Romney and he's elected president of the United States.

–Thomas Wright

6:58 p.m. — Mia Love confident in upcoming results

I just finished speaking with 4th Congressional District candidate Mia Love. She said she's optimistic for tonight's results, and expects to hit the ground running with Mitt Romney as president.

"We're feeling pretty good now. We've worked pretty hard. Every credible poll has us up, so we're confident in what we've done," Love said. "We think that Utah has been absolutely wonderful. The people have gotten out and they're pretty savvy about knowing what rings true and what doesn't. And I feel good about where we are."

Many supporters have flocked to meet Love in a hopes to be with her if she wins tonight. While many tonight are anxiously waiting for the presidential results, the 4th Congressional District is the next best thing.

"It's a different type of race, but the principles are the same. I work where the rubber meets the road, get down and talk to people and make sure I'm a good representative for them," Love said.

6:16 p.m. — Confidence in the Republican candidates

The Republican Election Night Party is slow to start, but candidates and party leaders are starting to arrive. Many are milling around, hoping for some indication of a good night.

Utah Republican Party Chairman Thomas Wright told me he's optimistic about tonight's results. He believes there is a great chance for Republicans to sweep the state elections.

"We're optimistic. Utah is going to have a very Republican night we feel," Wright said. "We're just hoping the country sees what we see in Mitt Romney and he's elected president of the United States."

In addition to the presidential race, many here are looking forward to the results of the Fourth Congressional District race between Jim Matheson and Mia Love.

"We're confident. Mia Love has run a great race, she's a great candidate, she's a historic candidate, and she was the perfect matchup for us against Jim Matheson," Wright said. "We're confident we're going to win that race."


5:18 p.m. — The stage is set

I just arrived at the Republican Election Night Party and it's pretty quiet so far. It's like the calm before the storm. Soon, the Hilton Hotel will be rocking as Republicans await the results.

For some races, candidates have been campaigning for more than a year. And tonight, the hard work and dedication to the various campaigns will be on display.

4:47 p.m. — Let the election fun begin

It's Election Day and the fun is just beginning. Everyone is paying attention to the presidential race to see who our next president will be. Many in the state of Utah are anxiously waiting to see if the country elects its first Mormon president with Mitt Romney.

Win or lose for Romney, it's a great accomplishment of American progress, moving past the days when members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were persecuted at the infancy of their religion and being marginalized in society. Today, the Mormon faith has been brought to the forefront of the American culture.

And for Republicans, a Romney presidency is a step in the "right" direction for how the country should move forward.

Republicans, tonight, are hoping for a sweep in the state races, with Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love getting most of the attention as she attempts to remove the state's only sitting Democrat. Additionally, Love would become the nation's first African-American woman in the U.S. House of Representatives with a victory — an accomplishment many national Republicans are anxiously waiting to see.


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Josh Furlong


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