Election results disappoint Republicans

  • McCain supporters from around Wisconsin gathered last night at the Country Springs Hotel in Pewaukee, Wis.
  • Various influential Republicans gave speeches to those in attendance, including J.B. Van Hollen, Reince Priebus, Paul Ryan and Jim Sensenbrenner.
  • Most remained hopeful throughout the night, but at the announcement of Obama's victory many left the gathering.

Last night Republican Sen. John McCain supporters from around Wisconsin gathered in a ballroom at the Country Springs Hotel in Pewaukee. Two projectors displayed Fox News' election coverage while citizens of all age groups awaited the results of the election.

Many influential public figures spoke to the crowd, including Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin Reince Priebus and Congressmen Paul Ryan and Jim Sensenbrenner.

The speakers remained hopeful and continued to deliver inspiring messages to the members of their party throughout the night.

In one of several short speeches, Van Hollen said the Republican Party of Wisconsin is not only alive and well, but it is as strong, if not stronger, than it ever has been.

"The strength of a party is built upon our ideas, the strength of a party is built upon our philosophy and the strength of a party is built upon our people," Van Hollen said.

He said he operates independently as Wisconsin's attorney general, but he is still a proud Republican.

In his address to those in attendance, Priebus said the Republican Party of Wisconsin has raised and spent more money in this election than ever before.

"Everything is at stake in this election," Priebus said. "Everything we believe in as a party is at stake in this election."

Ryan said that Republicans are going to need to learn some lessons from this election.

"First of all stand up for what you believe in," he said. "Second of all, don't be afraid to take political risks."

Ryan said his party should not look back at this election as the time McCain lost. He said Republicans should look back at this election and say it was the time Republicans turned things around.

"The Democrats ascended to power tonight," Ryan said. "We are going to need to work with them when we agree … and when we oppose them we have to propose alternatives."

Perfecto Rivera of Milwaukee, who ran for U.S. Congress in 2006 and chairs Wisconsin's Republican Hispanic Assembly, said in general he thinks his political views have been well received.

"However, we are in a time and age of new voters who don't know the history and the foundation of this country. They often fall prey to a message or a messenger who promises to make their lives easier," Rivera said.

Rivera said he wishes voters had to participate in some form of national test or curve, which would qualify them as educated voters.

"It is not about wanting to take votes away from people, it's about making people understand the responsibility that is part of the process of voting," Rivera said.

He said he has noticed that veterans represent the group that is most receptive to his political efforts.

"They understand that freedom isn't free, even when they are fighting for the freedoms of people that protest against them," Rivera said. "They understand the dynamics of this country."

Ryan Mahony, deputy communications director for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, said his experience with this election has been good overall, though the result was not what the GOP wanted.

"I think the party tonight went well. It was open to the public and the invitation was state-wide," Mahony said.

He said his campaigning efforts were generally well-received, with a few exceptions.

"In Madison specifically I had a hard time, a lot of people gave me dirty looks just for wearing a McCain fleece," Mahony said. "It just depends on the area."

Joe Medina, a minister in Waukesha, said Waukesha County is heavily Republican.

"I think we lost a lot of the Hispanic vote because we wanted to stay away from the border issue," Medina said. "I think that definitely hurt us."

Medina said he is glad that so many people have shared their opinions about the election.

Louis Young, a resident of Muskego, said he noticed that Democrats were much more aggressive in this election.

"I just wish the state of Wisconsin would make voter identification more consistent and better policed," Young said. "It is very lopsided. Sometimes there are different rules from city to city."

Mary Anne LeDuc Jarowski, a resident of Pewaukee, said she participated in campaigning this year for the first time because she believes this is the most important election of our lives.

"For the first time in my life I feel that our democracy was stolen from us. We should pursue all possible avenues until we get to the bottom of it," Jarowski said.

She said she is disappointed that U.S. citizens failed McCain. She said he is a man that loves our country, that supports the United States and its troops, and that would do everything in his power to protect all of us.

"I did not work on this campaign for myself, I did it for my children and my grandchildren … and I am not going to stop," Jarowski said.

Rosemary Lane contributed to this report.