With Florida split down the middle in the presidential race, Republicans and Democrats in Pensacola gathered at their respective Election Day bashes. Both camps were gearing up for a long night.
The Democrats held court at Seville Quarter. They watched election returns on an ABC News broadcast, finding out Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) has won reelection in the same hall that his rival Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) had held a rally in two weeks ago.
Over at Miller’s Ale House, on the back deck, huddled around fire pits or up at the bar, Republicans preferred to watch their returns on Fox News, as Escambia County Commission Chairman Wilson Robertson mingled with the crowd after having locked up his own race.
At each party, attendees cheered when their candidate won another state. They nervously watched as Florida became of greater interest.
Up at the bar at Miller’s, a man sat staring at a red and blue patched map on the television. His name was Goodloe Farrington, and it took a moment before the stream-of-consciousness rant kicked in.
“I think when the panhandle vote comes in it’ll put Romney over the top in Florida,” the man said.
Farrington wore a large Romney button on his shirt. He said he voted for the “red team” and that he “use to be a Republican, but they’re not conservative enough for me.”
This man views the landscape in an extreme light. Watching election returns with him made them seem all the more dramatic.
Farrington laid out the stark reality he sees: “We need to split into two countries.”
He proceeded to describe an Ayn Randian vision in which the “people who wanted to work” separate from those “living off the government.” The split is coming, he warned, if Obama wins.
“We’re headed for division,” he said.
Farrington said he loves his country, but not his government. He described President Obama as “a little dictator,” “totally the wrong person to lead this country” and “the most corrupt president since Grant.”
“He’s a muslim,” he said. “He’s an incompetent, lying Muslim. That’s the way I feel about it.”
Everyone on Miller’s back deck—and over at Seville, too—appeared passionate about their politics. Some more than others.
“I would be on the front lines of a revolution if Obama was elected,” Farrington said.