Colorado Dems celebrate Obama victory Gangnam style at downtown watch party

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By 8 p.m., the ballroom was filling up. In one corner, an artist drew caricatures. Tomas Padilla and Marco Struck commissioned one of themselves as a two-headed donkey.

"If we have Romney as president, all of us are going to suffer," Padilla said. "Obama has a better plan for the middle class."

Struck said that while the economy hasn't recovered as quickly as some had hoped, "it doesn't happen overnight.... It's going to take time" -- and he said Obama is the man to do it.

Across the ballroom, Trent Wilkerson enjoyed a beer and the returns that were slowly trickling in on CNN. Top 40 hits (Santana, Maroon 5) played over the sound system -- but whenever Wolf Blitzer called another state, either for Obama or Romney, party organizers cut the music and played the CNN audio. There were big cheers when New Hampshire and Pennsylvania went for Obama. "That's game over!" one supporter shouted.

Wilkerson watched with a stuffed donkey wrapped around his neck. It looked like a lovable, dopey-eyed Democratic scarf. The donkey, he explained, was named Bill -- as in Clinton. "I love the man," Wilkerson said.

"This is one of the most important elections of my lifetime," Wilkerson said. A mental health worker, he said he favors Democrats because of their support for social services.

"This election is personal," he added, "because as a gay man, Obama is a supporter of marriage equality." When he pulled out his cell phone to check on something, his background photo was the Shepard Fairey HOPE poster.

Kat Lovato was also dressed up for the occasion, donning a sparkly headband with two blinking silver stars sprouting from the top like spring-loaded antlers. "I've been through every presidency since Truman," said the 61-year-old Lovato, "and I've never been so excited." Obama, she said, "truly needed four more years to change the social environment." Lovato is concerned about access to education, women's rights and mental health care. She has an adopted son with schizophrenia.

Mid-explanation, Lovato was distracted by CNN. "Oh my gosh!" she shouted. "Look at that map!" While the middle of the country remained red, the edges were turning blue. She bounced up and down, and the stars on her headband bounced with her.

Continue for more on the party. It gets rowdier.

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar

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