The atmosphere was tense at the S.C. Republican Party’s election-night party Tuesday night.
“Nervous, hopeful,” said John Dulaveris, 54, of Blythewood.
Dulaveris was playing the PokémonGo app on his phone while election results trickled in at the Vista’s Hickory Tavern.
Dulaveris wore a camouflaged hat with “Make America Great Again” on it in bright orange. He phone banked for Trump during the S.C. GOP primary, talking to 1,000 people to earn the hat.
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The presidential contest Tuesday was closer than Dulaveris anticipated. “It’s kind of like football. I like to see them win 54 to nothing.”
When Trump was declared the winner in Ohio at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, the GOP victory party erupted in cheers.
“I’ve been praying constantly for Donald Trump to win to save our country,” said Caryl Gayle of Irmo. “We need our country back.”
Gayle said she supported Trump because she thinks he will appoint conservative Supreme Court justices, address immigration and make the U.S. military strong again.
“The only way ... Trump could win was with God’s intervention,” Gayle said. “I think it’s happened.”
Karen Jeffrey of Chapin wore a Trump T-shirt.
“I’ve been rooting for him for two years,” Jeffrey said. “I can’t believe he’s come this far.”
Watching the results Tuesday night “has been a real nail-biter,” she said, adding, “Florida is driving us crazy.”
Later Tuesday, Trump was projected the winner in Florida.
“We absolutely believe 100 percent” that Trump will be the next president, Irene Reichenbach said just after 11 p.m. Tuesday. “There’s no doubt in my mind that he will win the White House.”
Reichenbach watched the election night results at the SCGOP watch party. She cheered as she watched Trump win swing states.
When she first met Trump in Anderson in 2015, she called him “President Trump.” Tuesday night, she was confident that was his fate. “I’ve always believed in him so there was never any doubt.”