JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)–Clinging to every projection, a group of college students gathered at Bubba’s Bagels to watch the election returns among friends Tuesday night.
“It’s always better watching it together than watching it at home,” said Holly Steele, a senior at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. “This affects the rest of our lives.”
Bubba’s Bagels also was where students watched the three debates between George W. Bush and John Kerry.
“We were going to watch the debates and all that on campus, but we found out there are no classrooms rigged for cable,” said Sean Evans, assistant professor of political science. Evans came up with the idea of watching important events like the debates and the election returns at Bubba’s Bagels, and the store was happy to oblige.
Tuesday night, a group of about 30 students sat around tables watching the news reports as they sipped on coffee, did homework and talked. Evans was present for the event, and some took advantage of his presence by asking him questions about such topics as the Electoral College and the Senate races as they awaited the outcome of the election.
Natalie Treece, a Bush supporter from Paducah, Ky., said she went to Bubba’s out of concern for her roommates. “They’d much rather I be here than hogging the TV,” she said.
Early in the evening, Treece was confident in a Bush victory.
“There haven’t been any surprises yet,” Treece said. “The states that Bush was supposed to be holding he’s been holding so far and the ones Kerry was hoping to get he’s been holding. The Florida numbers so far, it’s very optimistic and Ohio is optimistic too, but we’re not sure on that one yet.”
Michael Kieffer, of Marysville, Ohio, was just hoping against a repeat of the 2000 election, when the outcome was uncertain for weeks.
“My biggest concern is that the votes come in and they’re counted properly and the Supreme Court doesn’t have to intervene as it did last time,” said Kieffer, whose wish was fulfilled the morning after the election with President Bush’s re-election being acknowledged by Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic nominee.
“As long as we can show the rest of the world that, yes, we know how to vote, then I’m happy,” Kieffer said. “Even if the candidate that I want to win doesn’t win, at least I got out and I gave my vote so I feel that I did my part and everyone else did theirs.”