By Sally Voth
The disparity in the size and scale of the Republican and Democratic parties on Election night in Shenandoah County was similar to the party-line vote spread.
Andy Schmookler, the Democrat who challenged the District 6 congressional incumbent, and winner Republican Bob Goodlatte, was with Shenandoah County Democrats early Tuesday evening at Double Overtime Sports Grille north of Woodstock. There were about a couple dozen party faithful there.
Across town at the Hampton Inn, roughly three times the number of Republicans were watching election results in a banquet room.
While it was too early to call the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and presidential races at about 10 p.m. Tuesday night, the Republican ticket was leading the way in Shenandoah and Warren counties. Frederick County had not reported any returns as of 10 p.m.
While a large-screen TV projected Fox News, Craig Orndorff, Shenandoah County Republican Committee communications director, called out precinct results, which were then recorded on a white board in the banquet room. In the county, Republicans were boasting a strong lead.
Committee Chairman David Ferguson said he thought that Mitt Romney, George Allen and Goodlatte had a good showing in the county. Allen was running against Democrat Tim Kaine.
"I'm confident that [in] all 12 precincts they will come out the winner in those precincts and overall Shenandoah County," he said.
Ferguson made it to nearly all of the county's precincts Tuesday, and said he'd never seen voter turnout so high. By 4:30 p.m., the precincts were averaging a turnout of about 60 percent of registered voters, he said.
"It's going to be exciting to see what the percentages are now that we have the final [results] of the turnout," Ferguson said. "I guess it just shows the interest in the citizens on both sides of the fence the need to get out and demonstrate their vote this year. This type of numbers we should see every election cycle."
Shenandoah County Democrats were seeing reasons for hope, too.
"I'm very optimistic that Obama and [U.S. Senate candidate Tim] Kaine will win," Chairman Tony Dorrell said. "The thing I was really impressed with was how good a job the polling officials were doing. At all of them, the voters were really moving through fast. I did not get one complaint from anyone today."
While polling places were more crowded this election in part due to the whittling of locations from 16 to 12 and the registering of 3,000 new voters, Dorrell said he expected to see voter turnout percentages of 75-80 percent.
Over in Warren County, local Democratic Committee Chairwoman Molly Fasick Snyder was excited to hear former Gov. George Allen conceded the Senate race to Kaine, another former governor.
"It's so good to have the Senate stop some of the bills that come from the House of Representatives, to be honest," she said. "I call it a sanity check."
Snyder said she was referring to equal pay for women, and repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
"Now, if we could work on marriage equality," she said.
Snyder was also hopeful for Obama's chances late Tuesday, noting that Loudoun County had gone for the president.
"I'm feeling super-confident, much more every moment as every state comes in," she said. "The attitude here is really excited. We're really looking forward to a second term and wanting to have Obama finish what he started to do."
Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org