BOSTON — At 7 p.m. on Tuesday night, hundreds of Mitt Romney supporters poured into buses en route to the TD Garden convention center, the site of Romney’s Election Night event. The buses’ atmosphere was tense but optimistic. “Alright, this is what we’ve waited so long for,” announced one Romney supporter as he climbed on the bus.
When the buses arrive at the convention center, they were greeted by an imposing sign reading “Election Night 2012” and red, white and blue lights projecting an American flag onto the side of the massive silver building. Upon entering, Romney supporters — donned in red, white and blue headbands — were greeted by two large screens displaying the latest election results. Up two flights of stairs sat the ballroom, which held a stage surrounded by flags and patriotic images of eagles. Mitt Romney took the stage as the failed Republican presidential candidate beneath a sign that read “Believe in America.”
But the action did not start there — throughout the day, Boston’s residents were buzzing about Election Day festivities.
Boston’s polling locations were unusually overcrowded, according to voters interviewed at four polling locations. After waiting for 50 minutes at his polling location in Brookline, Mass., Gerald Selvin predicted that the overcrowding would only get worse — “Tonight [the polls are] going to be chaos.”
By Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of people waited in line to vote at Boston City Hall. One woman said she had been voting at Boston City Hall for 40 years, but she had never seen lines as long as Tuesday’s.
“Well, the Eisenhower years were pretty long,” she added.
At the Boston Aquarium, two middle school students and one elementary school student on a class trip said they had voted for President Obama in their school elections. A banker in the Starbucks said that he and 90 percent of his friends who worked “upstairs” would be casting votes for Romney because they found Romney’s financial policies more business-friendly.
Throughout Boston, bars offered special drinks to celebrate Election Day, such as the “Libertini”, which consists of stoli sticky, blue curacao, basil and sour, and the “kick-ass,” which contained tequila, red sangria, domaine de danton.
Several people interviewed said they thought the connection between Boston and Romney — the former governor of Massachusetts — had worn thin since he left office in 2007.
“It’s funny to think that the celebration is going to be tonight, downtown at the convention center,” Reed Juckett said in a coffee shop a block away from Romney headquarters, “It’s not like Massachusetts is a toss-up state.”
Ian Vigue, a young voter at a Hyde Park polling location, said his friends who are “pretty liberal” hate it when Romney refers to Massachusetts as “his state.”
Though the general Boston trend seemed to fall in Obama’s favor — he won by roughly 13 percent of the vote in Massachusetts — several segments of the city came out in favor of Romney. Four small business owners interviewed in Boston’s North End district said they planned to vote for Romney. Albe Alba, the owner of a fruit store, said he appreciates Romney’s education policies during his time as governor.
But despite Boston’s election buzz, Romney could not win in the state that once elected him governor.
“That’s rough losing the state that your house is in — well, one of your houses,” he said.