At a time in the evening when the outcome of the national election was still in doubt, both local Democrats and Republicans expressed hope that regardless of the final results, the country would come together and support whoever won the presidential election.
The Democrats were gathered at the Dibble Family Center to watch both national and local election results coming in and the Republicans were at Terry Hills.
"The country has to, number one, accept the democratic process that we just went through and realize that things are never as good as they seem nor as bad as they seem," said Rachael Tabelski, the chair of the Genesee County Republican Women and wife of Adam Tabelski , who won his race for City Council (both, pictured above). "In the words of my friend, Rome survived for 500 years, so we’re going to be just fine. Everybody needs to just relax and move on and hope it’s better for all of us no matter who the victor is."
For Democrats, especially, there was a sense that this was a historic election, a chance to elect our first woman president.
Diana Kastenbaum, herself running for Congress against incumbent Chris Collins (who won), said as the campaign wrapped up today, she and her daughter were in Rochester and decided to stop by the grave of Susan B. Anthony, whose activism helped secure women's right to vote.
"It was just amazing," Kastenbaum said. "It was like everyone converged on this one spot, putting stickers on her gravestone. It was just so phenomenal and I was so glad to be there with my daughter. It reminded me, when we were at the Democratic National Convention together, to see the first woman nominated for president of the United States. It was just so emotional for me."
Michael Plitt, chair of the Genesee County Democratic Committee, said he was primarily focused on local races, from supporting Kastenbaum, the first local candidate for congress in many years, to City Council race and other various town and village elections.
He said he's concerned the rancor of the 2016 campaign will make it harder to attract local candidates.
"It’s great to see people voting," Plitt said. "I hope it encourages more people to get involved locally. I think the mudslinging and all that at the national level kind of turns off local participation, which is not good. There are lots and lots of races. There are village councils. They are town boards. They are always coming up and it’s hard to get people to run for these seats due to the negativity at the presidential level."
Kastenbaum's husband, Hiram Kasten, an entertainer who performs all over the nation and is host of a weekly radio show on WBTA, said he thought a lot of the negativity might be the fault of the media, who always seem to want to cast an election as a horse race and obsess over tiny margins of votes.
"I think they exaggerated things," Kasten said, and then complained about the early night coverage concentrating on swing states before even the first vote was counted.
Few at the Republic gathering spoke in terms of "a historic election," even as network election coverage was starting to show Donald Trump was on a path to victory.
It was an election, many said, including William Zipfel, where many voters saw it as a chance to throw off the shackles of Washington politics and change the direction of the country.
Zipfel said he disagreed with pundits who characterized this as the most important election in our lifetimes.
"I don’t think that’s the case," Zipfel said. "I’m not sure we’ve seen the most important election of our lifetimes. Things always change. If you look historically, some of our forefathers, some of them went through what we would probably consider the most important of a lifetime. Reagan-Carter was perhaps one of the most important elections, so it remains to be seen."
John Duyssen, a Town of Le Roy board member, farmer, and former deputy sheriff, said he was all-in for Trump in this election, even as he acknowledged the campaign was, at times, less than civil.
"I'm sick of negative campaigning, sick of all the mudslinging," Duyssen said. "There's been a lot of he-said, she-said bickering BS and not enough of what are we doing to do with this country and how to lead this country, and what are we going to do for trade, what are we going to do for our military, what are we going to do for our retired people, and what are we going to do really with this health insurance. Don’t tell me you’re going to fix it. I’m sick of hearing fix it for the last 20 years. Our rates just keep going up. I wasn’t impressed with any of the campaigning to be honest with you, but I think Trump’s the guy."
With the election still in the balance at 10 p.m., Duyssen said he hoped the country would come together despite the brutal campaign no matter who won.
"No matter what those two do, every day we’re going to awake and go to work," Duyssen said. "We’re going to continue to feed our families and we’re going to continue to pay our bills. A good leader steps up and leads our country. I hope Clinton and Trump, whichever one pulls it off, that’s really what they do and lead this country the way they’re supposed to lead and not their special interest and everything else. Represent the people."
Eugene Jankowski, president of the Batavia City Council and a retired police officer, also hopes for unity.
He supported Trump and opposed Clinton.
"I think either way, we wake up tomorrow, either way, we need to go forward," Jankowski said. "Nobody is going to be happy. One side is going to be upset that their candidate didn’t win. It’s a whole process, not just one person that runs our country. We have a legislative process. It’s up to them to listen to the will of the people and make the best choices on each issue that comes up.
"I don’t see where that process is going to be stopped in anyway shape or form by one person getting in the White House. Our country is great because we have checks and balances to prevent person from becoming a dictator. So no matter who gets in, both sides should be able to air their grievances and go through the process and they should be aired out in Congress through the House of Representatives like we’ve done for 200 years."
Diana Kastenbaum, center, and Hiram Kasten at the Democratic gathering.
David Saleh announces election results for the GOP.
Adam Tabelski speaks to fellow Republicans after it was clear he was going to win the City Council election.
The GOP's local winners, William Sheron, sheriff, Charles Zambito, county judge, Steve Hawley, Assembly, Scott German, treasurer, and Adam Tabelski, City Council.
The next Sheriff, Bill Sheron, second from left, and his family.