Landmark victory not lost on local officials, citizens

Published 5:40 am Wednesday, November 5, 2008

For Susan Taylor, Ohio was it. As soon as the television networks reported that the Buckeye state was going blue this time, Taylor cranked up the music.

As the Stevie Wonder hit, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” blasted away, Taylor danced and danced and danced.

The election had yet to be called for Sen. Barack Obama, but Taylor, an AK steelworker and mother of six, knew the prize was his.

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Taylor, who had campaigned by phone and e-mail for the first African American president, joined an Obama election watch party Tuesday night held at Ruby’s, a soon-to-be-open Ironton restaurant that has been a favorite spot for Obama campaign events.

“I feel exuberant, proud, proud,” Taylor said. “I am walking 10 feet in the air.”

It was a night of history in the making and few who watched the results come in on television sets stationed everywhere across the county doubted the importance of what they were watching.

“Obviously, it is historic and it is exciting,” Stephen Burcham, Democrat and re-elected county treasurer, said soon after Sen. John McCain delivered a poignant concession speech. “It is going to be the dawn of a new era in the nation. The ideas he is going to be bring forward and hopefully to be able to be put in place with the new Congress. It is something we have never witnessed before and a lot of people have been looking forward to for quite awhile.”

Republican Tim Sexton, the county’s sheriff until the end of the year, admitted his disappointment at the defeat of McCain. However, he saw the Obama victory as the reaction of many in the country to a desire for change.

“We will have to see what four years of service to the country will bring,” Sexton said. “Hopefully Congress will work with the president.”

Much of Obama’s success came from an intensely coordinated grass roots campaign that brought in outside organizers that oversaw door-to-door and phone solicitations, analysts said.

“They organized and structured everything,” Congressman Charlie Wilson said. “They stayed on message and made few mistakes.”