Clinton takes county, Md., but Trump wins nation
Local Republicans say party is stronger than ever
Two years ago, if anyone had predicted Donald Trump (R) to come out of the U.S. Presidential Election over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D), they would likely have been ignored.
Even coming into the night of the election, most of the country thought Clinton would win in a landslide. And that included
many Charles County Republicans at the Greene Turtle in La Plata Tuesday evening, who were hopeful their party would just come out with the House of Representatives still under Republican control.
But as the night wore on, their despair turned to jubilation. With every key state Trump won, the smiles on the faces in the room got wider and wider. And by the time the party ended at 11 p.m., the room’s initial skepticism dis- sipated completely. Then Trump won Florida. “Whoa, I can’t believe this. We’re going to win it,” said Bill Dotson, chairman of the Charles County Republican Central Committee.
Jerry Feith, a Charles County citizen and a Trump advocate, said he believed in Trump’s election path all along, but it took actually seeing the results coming in to give the rest of the party confidence.
Many people complained that Trump had “no heart” and no real base for his campaign, Feith said, but the heart and the work was all done by his supporters.
“They always said he had no ground game. They said he had no shot at winning. She was the better candidate. But here we are,” Feith said. “Look around. We’re his ground game. All the people that came here tonight. All the campaigners. His supporters. We’re his heart.”
Dotson campaigned with Kathy Szeliga (R) and her run for retiring Sen. Barbara Mi- kulski’s (D-Md.) seat. Initially, he said keeping the house was the biggest thing he was watching for as the night went on. But early on, after Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) held his seat and Republican Todd Young beat out Indiana’s Evan Bayh, Dot- son said it served as a big indi- cation Republicans would keep the Senate.
What he did not expect, Dot- son said, was for Republicans to win the Senate so easily. “And winning the senate means the path to the presidency is likely,” Dotson said, after a few senate races were called in Republican favor.
Szeliga lost her senate race to Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), but Dotson was still encouraged. According to the state board of elections, the race finished with 60 percent of the vote going to Van Hollen and just over 36 percent going to Szeliga.
Despite the loss, Dotson said the encouraging thing about the results were that 36 percent of Marylanders voted Republican for that race, and that shows “a changing path” to other races in 2018 and 2020.
“For [Szeliga] to hit about 40 percent in Maryland with a presidential candidate below 30, she outperformed Trump in the state. We started this race with zero name recognition. The race isn’t over,” Dotson said.
Attitudes are changing in America and they are changing quickly, Dotson said. People were promised change and have not seen it, he said, so now they are looking at other options.
Democratic voters are switch- ing party alliances across the country, he said, because they are upset. The house, senate and presidency are all red now. And the need for something new is the biggest reason, Dotson said.
“These people, they were angry. And this is what you get when you make the American people angry. They turn against you. These people are hurting,” Dotson said. “And now the parties have turned. Even with a candidate like Trump, we’re doing well. The party is back.”
Bill Dotson, center, and Charles County Republicans look on in excitement as a news network declares Donald Trump the winner of Florida.
Charles County Republicans hold up a Donald Trump sign in support of their candidate at the Green Turtle in La Plata on election night as he pulled away from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.