Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election 2012: Mormons and Memories

Posted By on Wed, Nov 7, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Old, young, black, white, Mormon and atheist. Idaho Democrats came out in full force Tuesday night to watch the evening's election results at the state party's headquarters, set up at the Boise Hotel and Convention Center. Shortly after 9:15 p.m. Mountain Time, when broadcasters trumpeted President Barack Obama's re-election victory, the crowd broke out in cheers, applause and a chant of "four more years."

Debbie Espen was one of hundreds in attendance who stuck around late into the night to watch Obama speak. Craning her neck from directly below the projection television, Espen said, "Frankly, Romney scares the daylights out of me."

Obama's victory was huge for Espen, who added that she wasn't following in her family's mostly Republican footsteps, insisting that she was one of two "liberal siblings" out of seven. Espen said Tuesday night was her first Election Night celebration, and she was making the most of it with applause, cheers and ear-to-ear smiles.

Boise City Councilman T.J. Thomson is no stranger to election parties. Thomson said Obama's victory was "quite telling for the state of our nation," adding that he thought "the whole nation is headed in the right direction."

Jordan Morales, Kristi Hansen and friends at the Idaho Democratic Party on Election Night 2012.
  • Brady Moore
  • Jordan Morales, Kristi Hansen and friends at the Idaho Democratic Party on Election Night 2012.

Thomson's sentiments were echoed by a group of Obama supporters proudly displaying handwritten "Mormon for Obama/Biden" signs. Jordan Morales said that Mormon supporters of Obama are really not that uncommon, outside of Idaho and Utah, saying, "They're a different breed here."

Morales' rationale for coming to the Election Night festivities was simple: He's a Democrat and wanted to show his support for President Obama. Mormon support of Obama has steadily been on the rise lately, and Morales said they expected upwards of 400,000 Mormon votes in the president's favor.

Just a few feet away stood Maj. James Cooper. An unassuming gentleman with a stand-out personality, Cooper served two terms in Vietnam and more recently volunteered with Sen. Nicole LeFavour's campaign for Congress. (LeFavour lost Tuesday evening to incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Simpson.) Cooper said he helped LeFavour because, "women, regardless of their sexual orientation, deserve a presence in politics."

Cooper talked passionately about what he described as his best memory, watching a speech by President John Kennedy at Michigan State University. Cooper also recalled his saddest memory, watching the 1963 funeral of the man who moved him so much.

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