By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON – The air was filled with excitement from both parties at the Bell County Expo Center as Republicans were taking the local offices, but Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama was taking the White House.

While the people started to leave the Expo Center way before the presidential election totals were completed, some expressed their strong feelings about the election.

"Looking (at) the numbers that are already coming in you can tell he (Obama) will be the next president," said Arthur Resa, the Bell County Democratic Party chairman.

Resa felt that many Republicans early voted in Bell County, thus giving Republican nominee Sen. John McCain the early lead in the election polls in the county, but he was confident the numbers would be close as the night continued, he said.

Even if McCain won the Bell County polling, the turnout alone would mean a lot to Bell County Democrats, Resa said.

"If the numbers are close that is going to be great for us," Resa said. "I think Texas will be a swing state in the next elections."

Republicans, such as Nancy Boston, the Bell County Republican Party chairwoman, had not thrown in the towel on their candidate as the Expo Center cleared from eager local voters and candidates.

"I was watching it earlier, and they (the media) were not giving us anything of significance," Boston said.

Boston admitted she was more concerned in watching the local elections, such as the Texas House District 55 race won by Republican Ralph Sheffield, than the presidential race. But she was still going to head home and watch it to the end.

"It is still early," Boston said. "I am asking the question, what is best for America? I think there is a big concern for one party holding all three branches of government. There will not be checks and balances."

Boston said that both presidential campaigns did a good job of getting people to vote and she thanked all who participated on Election Day. The elections are what make the United States a great nation, she said.

"That is the one good thing about America – we have an orderly transition of power," Boston said.

Before leaving the Expo Center, after the local elections looked to be concluded for the evening, Boston mentioned how she felt if Obama were to win the presidency.

"I wish him well because he has a broad burden to bear," Boston said.

With the local elections called, many of the Obama supporters left the Expo Center and ventured to the Obama headquarters in Killeen.

"We are going to be watching this way past midnight," Resa said. "Even if he wins the electoral votes, we will be here to stay on and celebrate."

Contact Mason W. Canales at or (254) 501-7554.

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