A sea of red flooded the Rosen Plaza Hotel on Election Night as the UCF College Republicans welcomed Donald Trump as the president-elect of the United States.
Although the Tuesday night event was roughly an hour away from campus, about a dozen members of College Republicans said the Republican Party of Florida’s Election Night Victory Party was the place to be.
Brandon Arguelles, a UCF grad and former College Republican, said the enthusiasm of the crowd drew him to the party on I-Drive.
As he gave away GOP stickers at the door, freshman UCF College Republican Nathan Schiffer, 18, said more than 500 people attended the event overall.
It was a long night, but not a hard one.
After almost every projected state victory, the room sang “God Bless America” until Trump won the needed electoral votes.
The party really started after Trump won Florida. Blaise Ingoglia, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, went up to the podium and said, “It’s a great day to be a Republican.”
The party was set to run from 7 p.m. to midnight, but folks stayed long after the clock struck midnight.
The UCF College Republicans did not endorse any candidate this election. All members were not on board with Trump right away, including Mike Reen, a junior athletic training student.
Reen originally went for Rubio and did not predict Trump winning in the slightest.
“I thought his chances were slim to none,” Reen said. “Pollsters said Trump wouldn’t win, but when voters are anonymous [at the voting booth], he did.”
Reen had a point. Early morning on Election Day, the New York Times election forecast predicted that Trump had a 15 percent chance of winning. By around 10:30 p.m., that number jumped to 95 percent.
Arguelles, 37, said his most important issue is respect from other countries. He welcomed new blood in the White House with Donald Trump.
“Voting for Donald Trump is voting against Hillary Clinton,” Aguelles said. “We didn’t want to find ourselves having a president having investigation after investigation. And yes, we want to get rid of the gridlock in Washington with Congress not doing anything, but at this point, it probably wouldn’t have been a good idea to have something like this going on that would be a cloud over her head.”
Chelsea Woodville, a senior finance student, was one of the few UCF College Republicans who supported Trump from the moment he announced his race to the White House.
“[As a businessman], he’s bringing money to the table and isn’t being bought, no pun intended,” Woodville said.
As a woman millennial, Woodville, 20, separated herself from her peers, who mostly voted for Hillary Clinton.
“I think Hillary Clinton makes women look at victims,” Woodville said. “I’m not a victim … I go to school and I want to provide for myself, and I [will] feel a lot safer with Trump as president than her.”
Freshman biology student Gabrielle Ferguson is an African-American woman who voted for Trump. She said she wonders why African-Americans typically vote Democrat.
“I feel that Republican policies are truly what the African-American community needs,” Ferguson, 18, said. “I think the Republican Party can help them get jobs.”
Closer to home, Florida state politics was a topic discussed by UCF College Republican Chris Yerkes, a senior public administration student.
Yerkes said he thinks diversity in Washington is necessary and that Rubio will take care of people’s interests with his re-election.
He disagreed with Amendment 2, which legalized medical marijuana.
“I think people will take it from medical to recreational,” Yerkes said.
He was not surprised with the shutdown of solar energy subsidies and personal use in Amendment 1. He said, “It was a complete disaster the way it was written.”
Not all Republicans agreed on everything, but they came together to welcome a Republican back in the Oval Office. Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States.