Evanston Dems export firepower
Evanston Democratic Party stalwarts Jack Weiss and Janet Larson of Evanston react Tuesday to the results coming in on the television at Prairie Moon Restaurant in Evanston, which showed President Barack Obama and other party favorites victorious. | Dave
Updated: November 7, 2012 7:50PM
EVANSTON — Cheers erupted at the Prairie Moon restaurant where Evanston Democrats had gathered Tuesday night when news flashed across the TV screens placing Wisconsin in President Barack Obama’s win column.
“This is great,” said state Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, D-9th, the party’s committeeman, turning to the person next to him. “He’s carrying far north suburban Evanston.”
Schoenberg wasn’t far off, describing the party’s long reach.
With results assured for favored local candidates, the local Democratic Party of Evanston dispatched workers to Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa, where races were still in the balance.
Early election morning, volunteers left on buses from the DPOE offices at 821 Chicago Avenue to go to Madison and Milwaukee, and carpools were sent to Kenosha to help there.
For the last few months, the party had also been sending carpools to Iowa, “which is one of the hardest states to organize,” said Schoenberg, but one the party has experience with from the 2000 and 2008 caucuses.
In Tuesday’s election, Schoenberg said the first debate — which Romney was perceived to have won — “seemed to have a catalytic effect on Evanston Democrats, who realized we were involved in an uphill fight and that we needed to do much, much more.”
Unofficial results indicate they more than succeeded.
At Oakton Elementary School, 436 Ridge, the vote was 404 for Obama and 47 for Romney, reported Joanne Zolomij, longtime DPOE official, working that poll.
Blair Garber, the Evanston Republican Party Committeeman, saw things differently.
From the results, “it appears that the quality of candidates is irrelevant,” he said Wednesday. “It’s all money and the money that goes to Madigan and is compulsory through the unions. The money that used to fund Republicans has either dried up, been co-opted, or those people in business have left the state.”
Democrats who were celebrating at Prairie Moon had other reasons for the party’s poor showing.
“He’s (Romney) getting very little to no Latino, Black votes, and in America that’s a problem,” said Jerome Summers, a member of the District 65 school board, watching results as they came over TV. “Going into the 21st Century that’s a big deal.”
For Schoenberg, the election, as successful as it was, also prompted reflection.
For the first time in 24 years, he won’t be returning to Springfield, and is moving into private life.
“I had to say when I went to vote at Willard School this morning I found myself staring a little longer at the screen,” he said, “as the realization sunk in that I was indeed turning the page on this incredibly satisfying part of my career.
“I didn’t linger too long,’’ he added, “because there was a whole line of people who were waiting to use the machine.”