As results began to trickle in from Indiana and other Midwestern states, voters at Brown County Republican and Democrat headquarters were optimistic their presidential candidate would prevail.
At the Democrats’ party at The Seasons Lodge, Kathy Smith-Andrew wore a red suit jacket with a Hillary Clinton button pinned to her right side.
“I think we’ve spent too many years ignoring over half our population and their talent and their dedication and their loyalty and patriotism,” she said about the possibility of electing the first female president.
“I don’t think anyone has ever been better prepared to be president than Hillary Clinton.”
Jennifer Miller was sporting a Hillary Clinton T-shirt from the 2008 election.
“It’s been a long time that we needed (a female president), but that’s not the reason I voted for her,” she said.
“It’s because she has a unique experience that no one has ever had or probably will ever have. I think she’s a real, genuine person.”
Early in the night, despite predictions of a Clinton victory, Lynnette Miller said she expected the chance was about 50-50 either direction.
At Brown County Republican headquarters at the Brown County History Center, Miller, decked out in Donald Trump buttons, held her nose and smiled when asked about her vote for Trump. “It was the only option,” she said.
He wasn’t her favorite during the primary, but she said the Republican presidential nominee has grown as a candidate over the past few months, cleaning up his language and learning to reach out to people rather than simply mocking them.
Mary Smith said there was no reason to assume women would hate Trump or prefer Clinton.
“For me, it comes down to the Supreme Court, and abortion was a big part of it,” she said.
Smith said she did not agree with critics who characterized Trump as prejudiced against women.
“I feel that people can change,” Smith said. “And all these people that pretend like they’ve never done or said anything wrong, that’s probably not true.”
Smith questioned Clinton’s trustworthiness, citing the FBI investigation into both Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. “I don’t really feel that anyone who’s even being investigated by the FBI should be allowed to be president,” she said.
Robin Krebbs said that she expected to vote for Trump from the moment she heard he planned to run because of his success in business.
If Clinton were to win, Krebbs said she felt the nation would be in trouble. “I don’t think I would ever believe anything that woman said,” she said.
Krebbs’ perception of Trump only improved over the course of the race, she said.
“I love the rowdiness,” she said. “I love that he’s very determined in what he thinks, in what he feels.”
Brenda Kelley said she hoped that America would follow in the footsteps of countries like Germany, which elected its first female chancellor in 2005.
“It’s sad. My granddaughter is 8 years old and she said to me, ‘He’s (Trump) is going to make America great again.’ I said, ‘America is great. Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s not,'” Kelley said.
Kelley said Clinton is most qualified to be president.
“She knows the ropes, she’s put in her time, she’s paid her dues. … You can just tell how eloquent she is in speaking,” Kelley said. “When you have her against Trump, he has such a limited vocabulary. I can’t imagine that he’s appealing to these people.”
Delbert Crocker, who emigrated to the United States from Canada in 1967, voted for Clinton.
“I think one of Hillary’s problems going in and being elected is she has threatened men in power, because a woman finally is going to be in that position of power,” he said. “Hopefully, she can use it and wield in a way that will benefit us all.”
But as more states reported in, it didn’t appear Clinton would get that chance.
Smith had a singular view on what the nation’s reaction should be on the outcome: “I think, as a country, we just need to pray for them and support them, and hope that they can do the best job possible, and work with both sides,” she said.