It was a happy night for DeKalb Democrats even though the President did not win Georgia.
When Ohio returns put the president over the top, Democrats at their victory party at Courtyard by Marriott hotel in downtown Decatur erupted in cheers and spontaneous dancing.
At Pesos Cantina restaurant on Flat Shoals Parkway, where about 150 people had gathered to watch the elections returns, the crowd jumped to its feet when the president won the swing states of Pennsylvania and Iowa. When he reached the 270 electoral votes need to clinch the election, chants of “four more years,” and “yes we did” filled the room.
When someone led the spectators in a prayer of thanksgiving, the room fell silent.
Lorraine Brackery, who was among the crowd, said there were tears of joy.
“People were dabbing their eyes with tissue,” she said.
Obama won a decisive 303 electoral votes to Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s 206 votes much earlier than pundits had expected.
When Ohio put him over the top just after 11 p.m., the President tweeted “We are all in this together. That’s how we campaigned and that’s who we are.”
At 1:37 a.m. when he took the stage in his hometown of Chicago, the President said the task of perfecting our union moves forward.
“We are an American family and we rise and fall together,” he said, adding that he is returning to the White House more inspired and determined than before.
The president said he plans to meet with Romney to see how they can work together.
“Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual," he said. "You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together, reducing our deficit, reforming our tax code, fixing our immigration system, freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We have got more work to do.”
In conceding the election, Romney said this is a time of great challenges for America.
“I pray the president will be successful in guiding our nation,” he said.
DeKalb voters turned out in force to re-elect Obama, who is the first African-American to lead the county. Voter turnout in the county was over 70 percent.
Jennell Smith of Decatur was among the 161,000 DeKalb voters who cast ballots early. She said she voted for Obama again because she believes he has the people’s interest at heart.
“He is really doing a great job given the circumstances around which he came into office,” Smith said. “Most of his first term, he was cleaning up Bush’s mess. I think he can benefit the country.”
Eugene Wiley, 64, of Decatur, said he voted again for the president because he has a good heart.
“He is smart,” he said. “His intentions are honorable, but there were those in Congress who said they would oppose everything he does. In a second term, he could get the economy back into shape.”
With 91 percent of 4th Congressional District precincts reporting, Johnson was cruising with 74 percent of the votes over Republican challenger J. Chris Vaughn. Johnson got 203,850 votes to Vaughn’s 70,344.
With 88 percent of his precincts reporting, Lewis was leading with 85 percent or 218,291 votes to Republican challenger Howard Stopeck, who had 38,124 votes.
The controversial Charter School Amendment was headed for a big win. With 97 percent of precincts reporting statewide, the amendment was passing with 58 percent or 2,108,034 votes. It will reinstate the Georgia Charter Commission, which will have authority to approve charter schools denied by local school boards.
Amendment 2, which will gives the state the authority to enter into multi-year rental agreements, won with 64 percent or 2,195,787 votes.
In DeKalb County, Chamblee’s annexation proposal was defeated with a slim margin of 34 votes; 1,126 people – 51percent – voted no, to 1,092 yes votes.
It’s the first time in two years that municipal encroachment on DeKalb County’s unincorporated areas has been defeated by voters.